the tools you need to put your business on autopilot  

put your online business on autopilot today with these tips from bella creative co



 

 

Do you find yourself bouncing from task to task? Searching for your to-do lists in multiple notebooks? Doing tasks that you know that you’d give to someone else in a heartbeat if you had the budget?

 

I remember when I first started seeing growth happen in my business early on. It was about 2 years ago. I was solely focused on marketing projects and I had just transitioned from a freelancer before that. I was working full-time just like now, taking caring of my parents at home full-time, and wanted to make some changes in my business. I’m sure at that point I was working like 80 hour weeks without even realizing it. Can you imagine? I knew I needed to hire some help but I wasn’t sure just how much I really needed at that time without wasting money or time training someone.

 

 

Now you may be wondering just how do you improve productivity in your business? Or make tasks simpler and easier to do? You automate your business processes. As an entrepreneur, sole proprietor, or small business operator, you need tools that will make business more efficient. You wear the hats of what would be multiple people if you had the budget to hire a team. When you can get more done with the least amount of work, this maximizes the use of your time leaving you to work on other important aspects of your business like revenue generating  tasks.

 

 

I’m a Small Business, Why Do I Need to Automate?

 

 

You may be thinking, I have a small business. Why do I need to worry about automation? Your size and long term goals is precisely why. As a small business owner and entrepreneur, you need to maximize the resources you have available to you. And one of those key precious resources is having time to do everything that you need. Problem? You don't have all the time you need and quite frankly, you probably won't ever, but with automation there is hope.

 

Business automation makes operations easier, improves productivity, and helps you grow and scale your business. Although there are a lot of entrepreneurs that don’t want to adopt that corporate way, there is nothing wrong with it. Major corporations all use automation because it streamlines processes. It makes it easier for their staff to get all their tasks completed efficiently.

So I did the next best thing till I was ready to find the right person. I used inexpensive tools to help me automate my business since I wasn’t ready to hire someone. This worked out better than I could’ve expected. I grabbed a pen, some paper, and got to prioritizing.

Do More With Less Work 

 

  • Prioritize what takes the most time

Although this seems to be something I see a lot of my clients struggle with, it’s not hard, I promise. Write down everything that you need to do and use www.toggle.com to track your time while completing those tasks for one whole week. This will help you prioritize which tasks need to be automated first and will give you more time back.

  • Choose the right tool

So for me it was a little easier to find the tools I wanted because most I’d used in my full-time job before. See what I didn’t want to do was choose a tool that maybe wasn’t the greatest fit for a entrepreneur, freelancer or small (erish) business owner. So I researched the tools I was interested in like Hoot Suite, Trello, Asana, Toggle, Boardbooster, and a few more in my favorite Facebook Groups. I simply used the search bar in the group to see what other people were saying about these tools. It helped me narrow it down fast!

  • Test drive before you buy

All of the tools I was interested in had free trials that were maybe 7 - 14 days long, yay! Me being the budget conscious girl I am, I didn’t want to spend the money and time setting something up for it not be a good fit in the end. So I did trial runs first and that helped me see how it could for me and into my days.

  • Pull the plug

That’s it! Once the trial was over, or sometimes before that even happened, I signed up, got set up, and was already saving myself at least 8 - 10 hours per week alone! Honey, yes! It was amazing! I wasn’t having late nights anymore and I had much more time on the weekends to do other stuff.

 

Business on Autopilot Tools

 

 

You can do the same thing I did, but the difference is now, after all these tools, systems, trials, and money spent, I can give you an awesome list + other great tips to implement your own tool or system. I can save you even more time, isn’t that what you need the most? Yes! I created the Systems Implementation Kit to show you exactly how to automate your business.

 

There are various areas of business that you can automate and most importantly that you should. I would say that the following categories are the most important in each business. Don’t be alarmed, if you aren’t utilizing one of these yet, that’s okay. It’ll at least give you an overview of what to expect.

Let us look at some of the best tools you need to automate your business processes in key areas of your business that are in the systems implementation kit. 

Project Management


When you need to collaborate and manage projects, it helps to have an efficient method. Trello is one of the best tools for coordinating team tasks and keeping track of the status and progress of single or multiple projects. With Trello, you can assign specific tasks to each team member and monitor the progress of the project. This is also an amazing tool to use if you find that you’re a solopreneur who needs some structure. You can create boards for your projects, create checklists, and assign tasks to yourself to remember for later.

Trello is also great to manage personal things like planning a wedding, grocery shopping, meal prepping, christmas lists, and more! I use it for almost everything and enjoy it thoroughly.

Client On-Boarding 


Wouldn’t it be nice when you are bringing in new clients to have a system that offered a seamlessly efficient onboarding process? Welcoming new clients to your business can be tricky. And if not handled properly, can create issues for client-business relationships. With the right process, your clients will know exactly what services you provide, how to go about accessing them, and help you maintain control of the relationship from the get-go to ensure that your client has the best experience.

Acuity Scheduling is one of my favorite tools to use for and with my clients during our time together. It’s budget friendly and has great features. The client onboarding process facilitated by Acuity Scheduling allows you to schedule appointments, manage appointments, set up var types of payment methods and packages/services. You can have your contracts, intake questionnaires, payments, and scheduling all in one place. Isn’t that awesome? Set the bar high before you even have a first session with your client.

Email Marketing 


We all know that to grow your business you need to implement strong marketing strategies. One of the popular strategies that online business owners use is email marketing. Build a strong email list is key for a lot of people. Thing is as great as the process can look from the outside looking in, managing a email list can be time consuming. It’s another platform that you need to create content for and consistently at that. With that being said, if you are interested in starting one you’ll need to pick a great automation tool.

One of the most popular programs  that businesses use to manage and automate their email marketing is mailchimp. I used mailchimp when I first started my business and it worked out great for a long time. Although as my list building strategy started to change and my list grew, I no longer needed mailchimp and switched to ConvertKit. And one of the additional benefits is that ConvertKit and mailchimp can be integrated with Acuity Scheduling to make it easier to capture client email information for future marketing efforts.

Social Media Management 

Social media is primarily used for marketing – whether actively or passively. And managing this process is incredibly time-consuming, especially with all the social media platforms that you may use to reach your target audience. There are a few different ways to simplify your process for managing your social media accounts. The bulk of your time though can be saved by scheduling your content  instead of posting from the account  itself. With Hootsuite, for example, you certainly do more in less time. This social media management tool allows you to manage multiple social media platforms from one dashboard. With this, you can schedule posts efficiently, cross post and keep track of your social marketing efforts from a single point of contact.

 

Action Step: Take a minute to review your daily process for completing or delegating tasks in your business. Include the tedious tasks you hate and the client work or product creation work you need to complete. This will help you understand your method of madness and then you can prioritize what process you need to automate first. Grab your Systems Implementation Kit here.

 

 

Let me know in the comments below what your favorite tools for automation are and why you consider them effective. If you aren’t automating and would like guidance on automation for your specific business processes, let’s talk

 

 

Why I Chose Rest Over Pushing Forward & Through

why i chose rest over pushing forward and through blog post

 

Sometimes in life, we need to go against the norm and do what's best for us instead of what everyone else is doing. 

 

  • Breakdown

  • Pause, rest, and reflect

  • Keep pushing

 

I won’t say that one is totally worse than the other, at least in my opinion, because it truly depends on the person and their situation. I can tell you that for as long as I can remember, I have simply pushed through what felt like everything regardless of what was happening. I felt like I didn’t have have a choice. I felt as if I would fail myself. I felt as if that was the worst thing I could do. I felt as though everything would fall apart the moment I chose to “rest”. I believe that our reaction during these times, trials, and rough patches do the following:

 

  • Says a lot about the outcome we want

  • How we view/treat ourselves

  • How we tackle adversity and overcome obstacles

So here's where a sabbatical comes into play. What does Sabbatical mean? 

 

The term sabbatical actually is derived from the biblical Sabbath which serves an ancient human need to build periods of rest and rejuvenation into a lifetime. Traditionally you’ll find sabbaticals in academic careers, but they are not just for teachers anymore. Anyone can take a sabbatical and travel. A sabbatical is simply getting an extended leave from work to pursue a break. Granted, your company might not have a formal sabbatical program, but you can lead the way in requesting a sabbatical and having them start such a program. You get nothing if you don’t ask.

People traditionally take a sabbaticals to fulfill a goal, build a skill, or do research. You don’t necessarily have to stay near your home to do these things, you can easily travel the world and accomplish your goals; the key is to get away, renew, refresh. - Meet Plan Go

So with that being said, I'm taking a sabbatical off from accepting new clients, social media, and will spend this time intentionally doing activities that allow me to pause and rest. The other part of my time will be spent completing other goals that are taking priority at the moment in my life. Read more over in the new lifestyle section here

 

the 4 key elements your workflow needs

The 4 Key Elements Your Daily Workflow Needs

I have spent a lot of time - just like you - hitting the snooze button to my 5 alarms, starting my day being unsure of what I’m going to work on, sitting in front of the computer for hours working on a few tasks here and there - knowing I need to do more - to only not get hardly anything done. I’ve also overworked myself and burned out. Our day to day flow can easily be thrown off by “life” so it’s important as entrepreneurs that we have a system to keep up with those changes, our to-do lists, project, goals, and schedules.

The word system is seemingly becoming another trendy buzz word but as always that isn’t the case. I feel like whenever words or things become trendy it takes away from their sometimes powerful meaning. Having a system in place simply means that you have a standard step by step process that you use to get things done. It doesn’t matter if this is getting your kids ready for school, doing certain things when you travel, or completing tasks in your business. Considering entrepreneurs and small business owners juggle many hats and tasks, it’s important you implement and maximize your resources so you can get and stay efficient.

There are 4 key elements that every workflow - how you do things daily - should include. In this week’s blog post I’m going to cover those 4 things that you must have and also give you a resource to help you create your own and manage it. This is a brief look into the process I use personally and for my clients. Let’s get started!

The Four Key Elements You Need to Use

To improve your productivity, you need to set your day on the right path before your feet even hit the floor. To do this I always suggest planning your to-do lists in advance. I typically use Sundays to prep for the week ahead. Food, to-do lists, cleaning, and more all get completed on that day. Now, of course, that doesn’t mean things don’t come up but at least I have a foundation for the week, I’m not scrambling come Monday morning trying to figure what I need to get done. This also lessens my stress throughout the week.

 

Action Step: Pick a day to braindump all the things you need to get done right now. Choose another day or a few hours later in the same day to then categorize that list into sections and then prioritize which tasks need to get done first. Choose the most important and start knocking those out. Do not move to the next category until you have complete the priority tasks.

 

Strong Goals 

Purpose-driven SMART goals help you define and set the standards for the day. Set your goals and daily targets either the night before or first thing in the morning so that you are organized for the day ahead. When you know exactly what you want and need to achieve on a daily basis, you set your sights on targets that are attainable and well within your grasp. With goals that are purpose driven and written to meet your strategic focus, you are assured of one key ingredient for your daily workflow to meet your needs.

Account for Personal and Business Tasks  

Differentiate between what is necessary for the personal side of your life and what you need to get done professionally. A work-life balance that addresses both of these areas improves your daily workflow for better management. Ensure you identify who will be responsible for specific tasks that should be done, and do not feel that you must do everything yourself. Delegate or outsource where tasks would impede you doing a good job.

A Schedule That Fits Your Lifestyle 

Not because a top ten list of what the world’s most successful people do in the morning states that they exercise first thing means that you should try to fit that in at that time. Your schedule should reflect what is best for you and what your lifestyle is like. When you organize around what’s best for you, your workflow becomes more efficient.

A system to manage it all for consistency and efficiency 

When you’ve outlined your ideal daily workflow, get the tools necessary to make it flow as seamlessly as possible. A tried and proven system helps to keep consistency in your daily routines. You may have to test a few until you get the right workflow that you want and that’s okay. It took me a few years to find a process that worked best for me and even now I have some days where I still tweak it a bit. This will ensure that you get necessary tasks done, meet your goals, and streamline your processes for efficiency.  

Don’t want to wait? You could jumpstart the process with getting help to identify and outline the best system suitable for you, your lifestyle, and business to make your days lighter by working with me.