One of the changes I made last year to be more productive, save time and focus on bigger projects was automating as MUCH as I could in my business! Do you ever think about how much time we waste doing tasks that can be replicated and automated? Since putting systems into place, I am now able to serve my clients (and myself!) so much better than when I had my head buried in repetitive, simple tasks! Let’s dive into my top 5 automation tools for creative entrepreneurs below. And I’ve included a free download with my with my ENTIRE resource list at the very bottom!
17hats is my saving grace. It’s an all-in-one business system for entrepreneurs. I am able to assign each client a ‘project’ so they can complete the booking process online (contract invoice, questionnaire) and its stored in their client portal. My clients can always revisit their portal to see past payments, remaining balances and receive automatic receipts.
My most used automation tool in 17hats is the workflow feature. I create a wedding workflow (from booking the client to shooting, culling, editing, blogging, social media, wedding day questionnaires/timelines, album design, gallery delivery, etc.) and assign it to each project. It helps me stay on track and I can actually AUTOMATE so many tasks! Payment reminders, emails, questionnaires can ALL be automated to send out by whatever date you choose. I can’t believe I used to spend so much time emailing out wedding questionnaires and now my system does it for me 30 days prior to the wedding day.
The bookkeeping feature can sync your bank to record income/expenses and also create financial reports. It’s super easy to print an entire calendar year of financials to give to my CPA when tax time comes around! Win! They have a free 17-day trial available and if you decide to stay with the system, you can pay monthly or annual. So check it out! 🙂
I am still baffled by the number of small business owners who have never tried an Instagram scheduler or have even heard of one! Planoly is an app and website that helps you arrange the look of your Instagram feed with a drag and drop feature! You can schedule posts, stories, reply to comments and analyze your stats. I try to spend an hour, one day a week, planning my ENTIRE Instagram content for that week. I choose my images and captions based on the blogs I plan to post, what I know I’ll be working on that day, fun behind the scenes posts or even a simple quote. The app sends me a reminder that morning to push the post through and I’m DONE. I save so much time this way instead of sitting on Instagram wondering what to post every day haha!
Boomerang for Gmail
Boomerang for Gmail is a plugin for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari and lets you schedule emails! I work in the evenings and early mornings when things get really busy and instead of emailing people at midnight, I can schedule for 8am the next morning.
Mile IQ is an app that automatically tracks and saves your mileage in the background of your phone. When you’re ready to categorize your mileage, all you have to do is swipe right for business and left for personal. Print the report for tax season and BOOM! Lifesaver.
I use MailChimp to send helpful emails to brides and also creative entrepreneurs interested in growing their businesses! MailChimp allows me to save templates, schedule emails and send an automated sequence of emails to new subscribers. I have emails going out the next 3 weeks that are already done and scheduled!
I hope this was helpful! If you have a question about any of these tools, feel free to leave below in the comments. Want my ENTIRE list of tools for business management, marketing, productivity and more? Download my Resource Manual below!