Published March 16, 2021
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So the topic that I want to chat with you about today is Automation. Whether you are a solopreneur, entrepreneur, or you work for a huge company, you may also be passionate about automating (or intrigued by it!). The people on your team should be doing the higher level work NOT the work that automations can do. And if they are doing this basic, nitty-gritty type work, I think IMHO, you’re doing things wrong. So I’m going to walk you through some things that I have found work for my business. These tactics will stretch your bottom line and protect your time so you’re never doing menial tasks. You shouldn’t be hiring people to be doing those either.
So as a way of introduction, I am obsessed with automations. I literally implement them into my everyday life from like smart switches in my home, to doing anything I can to improve my businesses and grow my bottom line in my businesses by automating as many processes as I can. So like who can benefit from automations, in my honest opinion, absolutely everybody can. And it really just depends on how far you want to go with it. So the number one thing that automations offers you is time, which is the most valuable thing on the planet. It’s time to spend however you choose whether you spend it with your family, you relax, you reinvest back in your business without being distracted by all these little details. I would say that about 75% of the automations that I use today are things that I taught myself. So I think that a lot of people tuning in maybe intimidated by this because they have no experience with it. And they’re like, Oh, it’s just like another thing I have on my plate. But my hope is that you know, this conversation today can kickstart you in the right direction. And just know that it’s all doable, no matter what level of tech savvy you identify as. So you may be asking, like, okay, does, where do I even start? And I think this is a really good way to a really good place to just level set, start here. Ask yourself, what’s taking up too much time in your business? And then ask, Are any of those things repeatable? What do you do constantly, on a repeating basis, day to day or week to week that that’s a really good place to start simply to identify the items that are able to be automated. So I will absolutely acknowledge you can fall down a rabbit hole here, both in a good way, and then not so good way. If you’re like me, you will love soaking up this information, you’ll want to learn so much more. But I can also see it be over being overwhelming, if your brain just doesn’t enjoy this type of stuff. So if you’ve never explored automations before, I would just suggest writing a couple of these things down again, like what is repeatable in your day to day business. And here are even like a couple examples of goals, even of what you were looking to achieve, write these down? Do you want to improve your team’s connectedness everyone’s working from home? Do you want to help generate new business leads? So these couple of things, they’re pretty different. But both of these things are completely possible to automate. And like drilling down to a few specific goals, but also just help you know what are start like, let’s start simple. Let’s not start broad. But also, let’s be real, like they’re easy, and there are complex automations. And like for most of what I’m going to be talking on today, I’ll introduce you to some really incredible tools that can do both. But I’ll predominantly focus on the easy ones. And I’ll just throw him like a couple complex ones just for fun. So let’s start with like a couple easy ones. They’re things you’re doing every single day that are so simple to automate. So one thing that I always I’m trying to do more of, let’s talk about voice memos and voice dictation. So some really cool stat, do you know that we actually speak three to seven times faster than we type. So my first preference is a voice dictation situation on my phone all day every day that’ll convert what I’m saying to text. When I was commuting back in the day live in New York, I was notorious for quote talking to myself all the time. But of course, what I was really doing is speaking emails or texts into my phone, on Instagram DM’s and in text messages, you can even send voice memos as well, instead of just doing the voice dictation. I honestly thought this was so weird for a long time. I don’t know about anybody listening, what you thought when you got a voice memo back in response to maybe like a text that you sent. However, my mind has changed, maybe it’s the fact that I’m like not as connected to people anymore. But I actually really appreciate listening to somebody’s voice in response to attacks that I will like, if they initiate it first, I’ll go after.
It’s actually much, much faster than typing or voice dictating. And especially these days, like I’m like, we’re not seeing people as much. It’s really nice to hear the tone of someone’s voice. So I try to use voice memos more often now. For instances that you’re not voice dictating, or a voice memo isn’t available. If you’re in Gmail, you should definitely turn on Google’s predictive text. It’s an incredibly smart AI they get smarter at predicting your words, the more that you actually use it. So if you don’t use Gmail, there are a few of us left in the world. Actually, I’m not included in that. I don’t know why I said that. I use Gmail. But if the heart view of you who don’t use Gmail, there’s actually a tool that we use for this podcast, but you can use it in different scenarios. It’s called otter.ai. Otter .ai. It’s really great for voice dictation, whether it’s in live time or conversations that have been pre recorded. For example, like I mentioned this bot Just you just drop in a piece of audio or again, you do it live, and it is really spot on with interpreting the text and dictating the text. So let’s also talk about Instagram automated replies. So we did a TikTok on this, like, I don’t know, at least a few months ago. And people were like, Wait a second, what you could do this. So this is an amazing thing for business accounts, where you’re answering a lot of the same questions. Or if you’re a social media manager of an Instagram account, where you’re just getting a lot of DM’s, and you want to reply to as many as you can, or you’re an influencer, or what have you, it’s a really great tool, and it’s already built into Instagram but again, like not everybody knows that this exists. So basically, I’m going to play a video that I… that this, take a video recording of that TikTok, so you can get a sense of how to do it. Alright, so for today, I want to show you guys a super cool feature of Instagram that I’m not sure a lot of people know about. So to do it, you’ve got to be in your DM’s and you see the plus button that’s at the bottom right of the screen. So you’re gonna click that it expands to plus the three dots. So from here, did you know that you can set up save replies to your customers, so hit the plus sign. And let’s say I’m always dming with people about my website. And what I have to say about my website is here’s the link for it. So if I save that x out of this and go back to any dm, all I have to do is press the word website, these three blue dots appear, and it auto generates this message. Okay, maybe that saved me a few seconds, but membership is a lot longer. And they can send that too. How cool is this feature. So I wanted to play that TikTok for you but go to our TikTok and you can actually see it I think the audio of it was so helpful to some extent but there’s a visual kind of run through of what it looks like as well. So go to our TikTok where iamwiim over there and you can see that video. It’s pretty clutch for when you need to respond and you’re responding to lots, lots, people. So here’s another easy automation, you’re sending emails all day every day. Why don’t you nice to automate some of those emails that you send all the time again, like you are looking for repeatable things in your business. So one of my most used automations it’s so simple, guys. So what I have done is I’ve hacked email signatures to include templated responses, in addition to my signature. So here’s how to start. So first, just take time to identify the types of emails that you send all the time. Like, for me, when I was managing talent, it was like my talent roster. It was, you know, when somebody would ask for a rate, there are just certain emails that like you, you know, you know, what you’re sending all the time, the same stupid email. So then create a template, that sounds like your best self, right? Because you are not in a rush, you’re able to cultivate this female and have it say exactly what you want to just say it’s hyperlinked up, and then save it. And you can save it as a signature, because after the text that you’ve written and your templated reply, you just put your signature at the bottom of it. So in most email clients, Gmail, Outlook, whatever, all you have to do, then at that point is you know, you call it something so you have an identifier. And so it’s like response to inquiries of XYZ, you click that signature, and not only do you have a signature that’s you know, templated but you have a whole entire response to that email… that’s all again, your best… you’re exactly what you want to say it’s all hyperlinked, it looks beautiful, you could put images in it, but it sees you so much time because we all know that there are emails that we send all the stinking time. So I use this all the time and I wanted to share that one as with you guys as well. So here are a few more easy automations This is one that I also use pretty frequently.
I’m so into creating a database of videos for future hires, current hires, like I’m doing so many screen shares with people to just explain to them what I’m asking them to do and accomplish. This is when I… you know we’re in different time zones or I’m prepping projects for people instead of slacking them a whole long list, or a to do list or explaining in an email, again, like voice is so much more powerful, but imagine a voice in combination with, you know, walking them through it on your screen, like a visual example. But to take it a step further, when I’m doing these things, I don’t include, hey, Amanda, or like, hey, John, I don’t include that in any of those videos. Because I’m thinking long term, I’m thinking, you know, as I’m expanding my team, I want to have a database of, of how to choose a training, you know, training video library, if you will, that I can keep and build upon. And, you know, I’m putting in a bit of upfront effort and saving myself time in the long run. So you know, whether you put this in a Dropbox or in your Google Drive, I would organize it and say, all right, these are, these are videos explaining our CRM, these are emails explaining the process of castings of this, of that, whatever your business is, but title them and organize them into folders, so that when you’re putting all this time into creating a great screenshare, about how to do XYZ task within your company, or another use cases, how to set up the branded content tool for an influencer, always think about reusing it down the line and creating a library of these videos that can be organized as a training area, or like a digital library of resources for your company. And influencers could be really valuable. So throw them in a Google Drive, your CRM, your Dropbox, whatever it is, and just recognize that screen shares are so much more engaging and helpful. And try to explain, you know, in an email or any sort of text form. So another easy automation that I’ve been using for years, I highly recommend is automatic appointment setting. So this can be for like whether, you know, you scheduling phone calls, or video calls these days are so many demos, console, it’s like whatever your use case is. I personally use Calendly. And I’ve used them for years. They’re also a black owned business. So I feel a little extra good about using Calendly and supporting this great business because, again, I’ve used them for years, and they’re just so tried and true. It syncs all of your calendars, whether you have like a personal and a work calendar, for example. It syncs all of those up, and instead of going back and forth, and back and forth about you know, are you available Wednesday, Thursday, I’ve got a two at a five o’clock slot open. Oh my God, I hate those conversations so much. All I literally do is setting the my calendly.com slash Jessy Grossman link. And you can go to that link if you ever want to book an appointment together. In addition, I don’t use this tool, but for some of you who do consults, for example, or any sort of sale, there are ways to integrate payments so that somebody could set a time in your calendar, but if your time costs money, they can also pay right there which I can imagine is really convenient. So that is Calendly. So now we’re going to get into a slightly more complex tool, but one of my favorites by far and it’s called Zapier, Zapier. So Zapier, there are different use cases on how you can use it. A million different use cases. But like First of all, let’s just start at the beginning. What the heck is Zapier? So Zapier, it’s an online automation tool that connects your favorite apps like Gmail, Slack, MailChimp, and literally thousands more. So you can connect two or more apps to automate repetitive tasks without coding knowledge or relying on developers to build that integration. I am obsessed with Zapier and once I started being like, Oh my gosh, these automations are making my life so good. It was sort of my natural progression where I learned much, much, much more about the world of automations. So with Zapier, you can set up like super simple automations. But you can also set up like fairly complex ones that integrate like lots of these different programs that you use at your company. So here are a few like practical examples of how to use it. So one example one, I want a slack reminder every time it’s a client’s birthday. Or another example, I want to email my employees every time they come up with a on a one year anniversary with our company, right? Like, these are automations that build relationships and that really resonate with people, right? Like if somebody remembers your birthday is or someone who’s like, Oh my gosh, it is my year anniversary, thank you for remembering. If you’re like me, you have the memory of a fish. I don’t remember that shit. Just do not and my brain doesn’t work like that. But I know how valuable it is. And I want to make people feel special. And so I have figured out ways to get that done, but in a way that like works with my my handicapped brain, because I literally have the worst memory in the world. So all of those couple scenarios, and so much more obviously are all completely possible with Zapier. So with Zapier, here are a few other examples of things that you can do and automate. So I have one specific zap, that I have I use all the time. And it’s actually for this podcast. So I figured it would be relevant to share but like keep an open mind as we… as I sort of like walk you through it and the number of different use cases that you could incorporate it into your own business. So my use case is the following. So when I have somebody who I would like to be on this podcast, like I mentioned before, I use Calendly.
So when somebody books, one of my podcast recording slots in Calendly, then they are sent a consent and release contract, which is all templated out, of course. And that happens automatically. As soon as that booking is it has been solidified. Then in addition to that, they are added into my CRM with the operative information that they filled out in my calendly, which is you know, if I need to reach you day of What’s your phone number? Are there any specific topics you’d like to talk about? Are there any specific things that are off limits? Can you tell, can you drop in your photo, because when we promote the podcast, I’d love to have an image of you, can you share your your bio, because I’d love to read that in the beginning of the episode. And all of that stuff is immediately dropped into my CRM. And so when I’m recording these episodes, I just have to pull all of that up the day of the recording. And I’m not gonna think about like, Oh, my God, I’m a little nervous to talk to this person. Like, in addition to that I’m not floundering to find all of these bits of information that they gave me prior, where did I store them? Where did I keep them? I don’t even have to put them in. That’s that’s the important thing, right? They’re all automatically entered into my system based on what was easy on their end, which started out in Calendly. Because on their end, I assume the user experience is way better to instead of going back and forth about availability and scheduling, to be able to just have all the questions at once to be able to show you my available calendar. And then it goes from a wonderful user experience from their end to a wonderful user experience on my end, and in between, they automatically get sent the consent and release form, which is an automated with reminders, of course because we want to be all buttoned up here. And that is that’s just one example of an automation sequence that I’ve got going through Zapier. There are a number of similar ones. But you know, we use sign requests for contracts. I use Podio as my CRM and I use Calendly for my calendar appointments, but Zapier is what brings them all together. So I hope that was sort of a good explanation of just one example of an automation sequence that can happen in Zapier. So, I think on that checkout Zapier, you… what I always want to tell people is you can actually try Zapier completely free. It’s not the cheapest tool out there but it’s 100% worth it I’ve paid for I paid for it for years at this point. And but with any tool or like anything, I appreciate more than anybody else a free trial you know a free test run to see if it works if it’s if I feel good about if I feel the value is being given and they do have that so check out zapier.com. I should obviously have like an affiliate code or something but I don’t and this is just simply because I recommend them and you should totally check them out and give them a shot, see if you like it. So another tool that I’m going to introduce you guys to is MailerLite. So I definitely think I’ve talked about MailerLite on this podcast before I know I’ve talked about it in the… in our Facebook group a bunch. But in addition to MailerLite email, mass email functionality, it’s like similar to Constant Contact, or MailChimp, it’s the same sort of thing. They also have an automation tool, which is super, super cool. And what I’m gonna do is actually include in the show notes here, some YouTube videos that we had created, that compare MailerLite to what we used to use, which is Flow Desk and there’s promo codes in both of those videos, actually, if you decide to sign up for either one of them. So the recap of those videos is that Flow Desk was awesome. They create beautiful emails, and it’s absolutely the most economical choice to make. When I was using it, it was 1999 a month, you can’t really get much cheaper than that without hugely suffering on the quality. But I sort of wanted to really ramp up my email marketing capabilities. And so I did a bunch of research and I landed on MailerLite and I honestly can tell you, there are very few tools that I 100% and like, Oh, I’m so glad I made that decision, I have no regrets or I’m not like secretly shopping in the background and then find a competitor that does it better. MailerLite is one of those tools, I cannot speak more highly of them. Zapier is probably like a close second but Zapier gets a little complex. So like, sometimes I struggle, their support is really, really good that you just have to have a little bit more patience with them. But to MailerLite, I could go on and on about it but I encourage you guys to check out the video that’s linked below, because it goes over a tutorial of MailerLite with you. And it has a ton of capabilities, like I mentioned, but the automation tools, what I just wanted to touch on briefly with you guys today. So one of the incredibly powerful things that it can do is create automated marketing funnels that WIIM actually uses. So I want to like just be, like, show you my real life use case and how powerful it can be. But at the same time, definitely keep an open mind about the ways that you could use this in your type of business. So basically, to summarize our marketing funnel, is once a person becomes a member of WIIM, I want to make sure that they are walked through all the different types of resources that we offer to our members. Because I feel like you know, maybe you’ve heard about WIIM, and you don’t even like you don’t necessarily know everything that we’ve got, because we have so many different tools, because there are so many different types of members, or you’ve been in like the Facebook group forever in a day. And you’re just like, Oh, well, that’s a WIIM, right? No, we actually have so much more. So the what we have is like all these templated emails set up and personalized to walk all of our new members through our ecosystem. So basically after like one day, insider members will get one email, after a day, VIP members will get a separate email. And then they go down those separate lines. And they’re introduced to all different types of resources, whether it’s WIIM cast or Clubhouse rooms or the podcast and they’re sort of like slowly but nicely and introduce… warmly introduced to our community and all the different things that are at their fingertips now. The step further which is really interesting is depending on the activity that they take, then they’re walked down other email pads as well. So like if they click one button that shows that they obviously express interest in let’s say, WIIM cast then after that, you know, we send maybe a reminder that says like, hey, like have you used WIIM cast lately because there’s some expressed interest there. Anyways, we… there’s ton of different scenarios but and you know, this is very specific to WIIM, but I want to just, like, throw this idea out to you that you could just have this like set it and forget it mindset when just like the entire… the entirety of automations and that can extend even into your marketing funnels, or just automated emails, perhaps here’s another example. That’s not mine, but maybe yours. Like, whenever you get a new client, do they each receive, you know, a barrage of welcome emails into your… into your company, whether it’s like a brand client, it’s like meet so and so this is going to be, you know, the person who has this type of working relationship with you introducing them perhaps to your team, the way you work your systems, but like, it would be a little overwhelming, perhaps if you sent that all in one email, right. And so this is a really interesting way of sort of, like, giving them some time to, you know, what do they need upfront, and then like a little space to digest it. And you could space it out by like, let’s say they get the first one, two days after the second one, seven days after like, it’s completely customizable. And then, you know, maybe they get additional information, depending on their activities within those emails, or maybe your talent manager and you know, the sort of similar concept could apply to walking your new influencer into, you know, maybe every six months, they get an email, like, send us a, send us a screenshot of your most up to date, analytics. Or here’s a tip that I want all of my influencer clients to know like, here’s how to optimize your Instagram, here’s what we suggest for this situation or that situation. So anyways, there are a number of different scenarios. And a lot of this takes like some upfront work, of course, and I completely acknowledge that this could feel overwhelming to some people who are just like, oh, oh, my God, that’s like going down a whole other path I got so much to do. But I can’t emphasize enough by like, just sort of putting this on your road map as something that like, Alright, this month, I’m going to set up one of these automations. And next month, I’m going to set up one other automation. And then the third month, maybe I connect the two, like, just be easy on yourself in terms of the timeframe. But investing in these automations, I promise you will save you so much time moving forward. And in terms of like new client onboarding, it’ll also ensure that you get that really important information across so like nobody could ever say, like, they didn’t get it. Maybe it’s for a new client, a new employee, there’s so many different scenarios. But yeah, that’s another big one. So just to sort of recap, is a little bit longer than I expected this, this talk to be. But again, sorry, not sorry, I love this stuff.
Automations can save you time, guys, and time is money. Also real talk. For me, at least this stuff drastically reduces my anxiety. I have struggled with anxiety for the longest time. And this is one of my regular practices to be able to just like, get on top of that, and relieve some of that anxiety by sort of putting together these, set it and forget it systems. It also lets you get things out faster. So you know, conversely, if you’re just trying to crank out more work, which is sort of the antithesis of reducing anxiety, but I want to approach it from all perspectives, you know, setting up like those templated email responses like Yeah, man, like, I could just set up a template and tweak like a couple things, and then it’s out way faster than it would have been otherwise. So that’s another thing to keep in mind. And the another important thing, no matter what scenario applies to you is it lets you and your team focus on what you all do best, which is just a huge, hugely important business practice for everybody.
Also, if you are interested in a consultation about automating your business, reach out. All you have to do is email me at email@example.com (my consulting agency). Beyond the work that I’m doing with WIIM, I really want to get back to small businesses so if you are interested in learning about the potential of your business please reach out.
Jessy Grossman is a long time entrepreneur in the digital media space. She founded the community Women in Influencer Marketing in 2017. Alongside WIIM, which began as a passion project, she built and sold a multi-six figure influencer management company. Today, she proudly spearheads the WIIM community amongst thousands of its incredible members. She believes that women are limitless in what they can achieve, especially with the support of each other. You can find inspiring member stories and more about Jessy on the WIIM Podcast.