What are the core tools you’re looking to have which will make it easier for you to work the system?
Are you fed up trying different tools but none is pushing you fast?
I understand your position completely. I know what it feels to learn a rather complicated tool and yet not having the deserving results.
There are so many automation tools out there. Both free and paid version. And at times it makes you confuse as to which one would serve better.
Personally, I have tried quite a host of tools, and I’ve developed distinctive flair in them. However, with my level of experience in this, I’m always almost able to filter the right tools from the rest.
From my discovery, the one thing that the best “work the system tools” have in common is their simple and yet friendly user interface platform.
If by peradventure you come across any automation tools, either paid or free, and you find that you’re struggling to learn the user interface, I bet that isn’t the right tools. Run away. Don’t waste your time confusing yourself. There is no good-to-honest productivity in such tools.
Automation tools per se are meant to make you work the system in the smarter way not the harder way.
In fact its sole purpose is to make your working easier. Plus, to save you time from frivolities.
Again, any good tools always comes with a user friendly interface. Not a complicated one of sort.
With no further ado, I want to list out for you the great tools I’m personally using to automate my business in line of;
- Clients Management
- Lead Generation
- Clients Billing, and
- Mobile Automation
Remember, [bctt tweet=”Automation is to your time what compounding interest is to your money.” username=”etuken_official”]
Automating Client Management
Tracking your website visitors with Analytics (or another tool) is a great first step. Getting as many of them as possible onto an email list is a wonderful second step.
When you’re ready to take that third crucial step, you’ll want to look at tracking leads via a CRM system.
Not only does this allow you to become a better marketer through smarter followup and better customer management…
But it also offers you another great way to automate your business, so you can free up your time to focus on more profitable endeavors!
When it comes to CMS systems, I recommend Zoho.
Zoho has never gone “corporate” and taken on venture capital or investment partners, which is impressive to a guy like me.
They offer great customer support, even for their free customers… And their software is excellent as well.
Quite honestly, I’ve never found a CRM that does so much and is so affordable.
The “Entrepreneur” level is free and offers accounts for up to three users, marketing campaigns and email templates, and tasks, call logs, calendars, reports, custom dashboards, and more!
When you’re ready to upgrade, the “Standard” edition offers support for up to 100,000 records and 24-hour telephone support Monday-Friday.
Customers using the free edition are limited to email support, but you can flag your communication with different levels of urgency and they answer pretty quickly:
Phone Number: 1-888-204-3539
Instructional Videos: Here
Help Page: Contact
(Includes webinars, web ticket portal, user guide, and knowledge base)
And of course, Zoho works with Zapier as well, allowing for additional levels of automation!
Here’s some of the favorite Zoho “zaps” that I’ve run in my business:
- Automatically create new Zoho CRM leads from GoToWebinar registrants.
- Automatically create a new Zoho CRM contact from a new aWeber subscriber. (This works with MailChimp and Get Response too)
- Automatically create a new Zoho CRM contact from a Gravity Forms (website) form submission.
- Automatically create Zoho CRM Contact from PayPal Sale.
Harvest is one of the best online billing services I’ve ever used for per-project and time-based billing, and time management:
Harvest can help you manage both billable and non-billable expenses across multiple projects (or clients) and also gives you the ability to assign contractors and outsourcers to different projects as you grow your business!
The invoices Harvest generates are highly customizable as well, and Harvest allows you to set automatic payment reminders, auto-billing agreements, and send all kinds of notifications.
You can try the full version of Harvest free for 30 days with no credit card required.
After the trial, Harvest offers 4 pricing tiers:
- Free: Up to 4 clients and 2 projects. 1 user included.
- Solo ($12/month): Unlimited clients, projects, and invoicing. 1 user included. Up to 2 more can be added at $10/mo each.
- Basic ($49/month): Unlimited clients, projects, and invoicing. Supports time-sheet approval. 5 users included. Up to 4 more can be added at $10/mo each.
- Business ($99/month): Unlimited clients, projects, and invoicing. Supports time-sheet approval. 10 users included. An unlimited number can be added at $10/mo each.
Customer support is available Monday – Friday (9:00am – 6:00pm EST) and their representatives are friendly, fun, and knowledgeable in my experience.
Learn more here:
Phone Number: 1-888-350-6637
Help Page: Here
And of course, Harvest works with Zapier as well, allowing for additional levels of automation!
Here’s some of the favorite Harvest “zaps” that I’ve run in my business:
- Automatically create a Quickbooks Online Invoice from Harvest.
- Automatically create a Basecamp project from a Harvest project.
- Automatically create Harvest task from Zendesk ticket!
- Automatically create Dropbox folder from Harvest project!
- Synchronize time and projects between Toggl and Harvest.
Automating Lead Generation
One of the easiest ways to find local businesses (in your area) is to have an outsource employee “pre-qualify” them for you.
We’ve done this on and off for years and it’s always worked beyond our wildest dreams 🙂
With just some simple instructions, you can set up a system that has an outsourcer sending you several hundred targeted leads every month…
In a spreadsheet, broken down by business name, contact information, and with the EXACT Reputation Management, SEO, Social Media, or Website service they need help with.
Not bad, eh?
Talk about a time-saver!
This allows us to focus on JUST the people who are most likely to need our services so we can spend a bunch more time focusing on more profitable areas in our business.
It’s also a cheap, super-easy way to start getting comfortable with outsourcing, without worrying about losing a bunch of time or money.
Here are step-by-step instructions on exactly how to do it:
Hire an outsourcer if you don’t have one yet.
Start on Fiverr or oDesk. This is a “research” type of position, and any basic data-entry employee should be able to easily handle it. I recommend starting small. You should be able to find someone for $5/hour (or even less).
Send your outsource employee some simple instructions for how to find the leads you want based on the services you offer
This might entail browsing your local Chamber of Commerce website to find local businesses who need website or SEO work… Or browsing Yelp to find local businesses who need reputation management help…
Or maybe even finding local businesses who have Facebook pages that aren’t being updated.
These leads just need to be entered into a spreadsheet!
When the leads come in, stop by their place of business, or call them on the phone!
If you spend a lot of time on your mobile phone, you may want to investigate an app called Workflow:
Check it out here
This app is pretty new, but I’ve spent a couple hours every now and then checking out some of the existing shortcuts that Workflow features in their “gallery” and also creating a few of my own.
Instead of relying heavily on a specific functionality (such as text editing) or third-party apps and services (like IFTTT and Zapier), Workflow is primarily aimed at automating native iOS apps and features.
I can definitely see myself using the app for some “on the fly” tasks…
Like finding the locations of all the meetings I might have on any given day, pulling images of the buildings they’re in from Google Street View, and emailing them all to me 🙂
You can also create a new note in Evernote and share it with one tap, or turn anything into a PDF and add it to iBooks.
Each workflow can have a custom name and icon and it can be added to the Home screen (as a web clip) or to Launch Center Pro.
The app only costs $3 bucks and is worth the investment.
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Etuken is a founder of OBXSERVER,
he's developed a distintive flair and proficiency in various online businesses such as Affiliate marketing, Importation/Dropshipping, Social media marketing, Blogging and amongst a host of many others.
Having been a web/graphics designer for well over a decade now, He's chosen to oblige more of his time to serving people who are strugling to start, grow and automate their online businesses.
Thus, Availing a plethora of information which are of vital importance via guest post in top blogs and also here at obxserver.com