Updating products, sending and replying client emails, updating your websites’ plugins, monitoring your analytics.
Does this short list sound familiar to you? Cool, then read on because this post will share a few tips how you can save a few hours a week.
Have you ever estimated the number of hours spent on repetitive website and client related tasks?
Well, I have and the estimate kind of rocked my boat. My weekly average of the above resulted in 10 hours a week.
Yup, that’s just about a full days’ work a week spent doing repetitive tasks and I don’t run a web shop nor do I have hundreds of clients.
I believe web shop owners must spend at least double the time doing the same old ‘boring’ tasks.
In this article I will share a bunch of easy to follow tips and describe in short some of the automation software innotrends uses to automate the majority of our business.
The links to the software can be affiliate links but in no way am I sponsored by these companies. I’m just sharing the tools I use and the time benefit it has offered me.
An extremely skilled software engineer once told me “The best software engineer is a lazy engineer. They automate as much as they can”.
This was 15 years or so ago and I understood what he meant but I never really took any notice to it until I found myself repeating the same daily and weekly tasks.
Last year I noticed that these repetitive tasks are taking a toll on my work-life balance, my concentration and speed of my real work: supporting my clients in growing revenue.
This had to change. I was aware of many SaaS solutions offering to automate many aspects of digital businesses I just never found the time to really dig into the tools’ services.
I also never sat down to document the repetitive processes I perform on a daily and weekly basis.
Creating such a list is particularly useful in your quest for the software solution which will actually save you time.
I know many entrepreneurs, especially the internet guys, hear or read about some new automation software and jump on it like a swarm of flies.
You can prevent wasting time and money by creating a realistic list of repetitive tasks and the amount of time spent on average.
To help you out here’s my list of repetitive tasks and average time spent
- Innotrends Website Maintenance: (20 minutes a week)
- Responding to leads (2 hours a week)
- Updating and maintaining client websites (1 hour a week)
- Invoicing: (20 minutes a week)
- Conducting Website Audits and sending reports to clients (5 hours a week)
- Monitoring Google Analytics (innotrends and clients) (2 hours a week)
- Appointment making (10 minutes a week)
My average total of repetitive tasks sum up to 10 hours and 50 minutes a week. That’s a full day a week!
Last year I calculated what this 1 day a week costs by dividing my annual revenue by 52 weeks and divide that by 5 days.
Well let’s just say: I can easily pay for multiple services and still profit big time.
The decision to look into automating the business became darn interesting. Not only from a revenue point of view but more importantly: improving my work-life balance by saving 1 day a week.
The saving of 1 full day a week is incredible. I feel a lot less guilty now working less hours than before. I spend more time with the kids and generally speaking I’m much more relaxed than ever before.
So here’s my list of software with a short description how I use them to manage my business.
- Accounting software: I use a Dutch software package because I know the owners and I just want to support their growth. But systems like FreshBooks is pretty good. I have automated the invoicing to my recurring clients. The only time I need to login to my accounting software is for new clients. The rest is completely automated. Saves me 20 minutes a week. I’ve even automated the reminders if a client ‘forgets’ to pay. The accounting software is connected to the bank so once a month I will connect the payments to the invoices.
- ManageWP – My sites and that of my clients I manage with ManageWP. I automated the backups, scheduled the plugin updates, send automated reports to the clients, enabled analytics and I even get an email if one of the sites has crashed. The total package costs me about $30 a month.
Consider doing all of these tasks manually, how long would it take you to do? Let’s say two hours. Well, just take your hourly rate and multiply that by 2 hours and you’ll see that the $30 recurring fee is an easy made decision.
- ActiveCampaign – When you sign up to download a white paper or any other lead generator I have on the innotrends website everything is connected to my ActiveCampaign account. From the moment a user signs up to one of the white papers of information request, I have set ActiveCampaign to automate responses. A response can be a Welcome series, a Thank you series or a Lead generation Nurturing series.
Make no mistake – setting up ActiveCampaign automations, creating the content and everything else costs quite some time but it’s a one time job. I created the processes once and that’s it. Unless I feel need to make some changes I don’t have to do anything concerning the leads and the nurturing of them.
- SEranking – I prefer this website audit & SEO tool because it has the option to send out reports to my clients in 8 different languages. As soon as my SEO KickStart clients become a client – all I need to do is punch in their domain, add some other details such as they preferred keywords and that’s it. I obviously spend time checking the results and monitoring but the reporting is automated. I’ve set it up that the system works for me and not the other way around.
- Google Data Studio – Google Data Studio is a free tool supplied by Google in which you can create customised statistical templates by connecting Google Analytics and Google Search Console. I started to use this about 2 years ago for myself because it saves time from checking Google Analytics and browsing through all the data. With GDS I created a dashboard with the information I find important. Just last year it dawned on my that I could create a template for my clients. When a client adds my account to their Google Analytics all I need to do is copy the template and load their data. It takes a matter of seconds. Then I can supply them with a link which they can bookmark and within a few seconds they can view the data which is most important to them. In some cases, clients will want some additional statistics so I add the data they want which normally takes a few minutes to do.
- Calendly – When you download one my white papers or what to schedule a meeting with me for a SEO health check or our e-commerce growth program you would have to fill out a form. I would then contact you and we’d set a time and date. You can imagine scheduling dates and times can take a few emails or phone calls because nowadays we’re all extremely busy. I recently purchased an annual license of Calendly which is connected to my iCloud calendar. I use the iCloud calendar for private and work (which are separate). But Calendly takes them both into account and blocks the potential client from scheduling a meeting when I’m busy. I also connected Calendly to zoom.us which is a free video and screen sharing software. So when someone want to schedule a meeting with me, they can select the time and date that suits them best and in the meeting request they have a zoom.us private meeting link. All they need to do is click on the link and we’re on a roll. It’s worth mentioning that I selected the pro account which offers services like sending an SMS reminder before the meeting commences. You can even connect Stripe or Paypal if the meeting is a paid service. Again, this took some time to get hooked up and connected but it works like a charm. I’ve even connected the data to Google Analytics and ActiveCampaign.
So here you have it, 6 easy to use tools which will save a bunch of hours a week which essentially prevents you from focussing what really matters: Running a business and enjoying life.
Maybe you have some useful tools you would like to share? Please do in the comments below.