Automation, with its intrinsic ability to increase efficiency, has been all the rage recently. If you’re searching for a game-changer to improve your workflow, look no further. Historically speaking, due to cost restrictions, only big businesses and corporations used to be able to leverage automation technologies.
However, there are so many free and affordably priced automation options available today that the humblest of freelancers can afford to get on board. It’s argued that digital automation has replaced the traditional salesman and reduced the incidence of costly human error. It helps standardize processes to be able to deliver more consistently.
And above all, automating repetitive tasks allows you more time to focus on strategic initiatives. If you’re anything like me, you might be one to shy away from seemingly complicated new technologies. But rest assured, the list that follows will provide automation solutions even the most technophobic individuals can learn to love and appreciate.
You likely need no convincing on the significance of social media. Be honest. How many times have you stopped to respond to a tweet or search for an Instagram post only to find yourself still mindlessly scrolling hours later? No judgment; it happens to all of us. Social media’s distracting and time-consuming reputation precedes it.
But armed with one (or many) of the automation tools available, you can start more efficient interactions. There’s such a great need to actively nurture your online presence on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. It’s almost imperative for networking, generating new clients, and showcasing your work.
A tool like Buffer can help you schedule posts at the optimum times to reach the widest audience while IFTTT integrates your social media accounts and automates specific actions for enhanced social sharing. You can also check out this list for eight other great timesaving social media tools. You are bound to find one that fits your needs!
I’m sure you are all too aware of how frequently you end up answering the same questions posed by clients and prospects. Responses take time to craft. In fact, a recent Canadian survey found that people spend as much as 17 hours per week reading and responding to emails!
If you know nothing about email automation or have never really given it much thought, I have two words that could potentially change your life: Canned Responses. It may sound fancy, but a canned response is nothing but a predetermined reply to a commonly asked question.
Thankfully, Gmail has newly revamped this function that lets you save commonly sent emails as templates for future use. Be sure to check out this helpful Hubspot post on How to Create Gmail Templates in 60 Seconds and get to work setting them up right away!
Additionally, for those of you who feel like you’re drowning in emails, Sanebox is an email productivity software that uses AI to analyze your email history and learn what’s important to you. It then compiles all non-urgent mail into a daily or weekly digest that can be reviewed in a glance.
As a freelancer and member of the gig economy, I bet you’re always on the lookout for new job opportunities. Prospecting for clients comes with the territory. Yet it’s something you’ll unfortunately never be paid to do. This is why working smart and automating the search is of paramount importance. Google Alerts can and should be your best friend here.
Turn it into your very own just-in-time opportunity generator by setting up alerts related to your niche or skill keyword followed by variations of ‘now hiring.’ Your new BFF will get to work sifting through the first 20 or so pages of Google’s search engine results to draw out opportunities that match your query.
A lot of the time, this can include perfectly suited gigs from obscure sites you never would’ve known to put on your radar. And if after harnessing the power of Google Alerts, you want something more, you can check out this great list of alternatives or a paid curation service like Solid Gigs.
The back-and-forth involved in scheduling appointments can be quite tedious. Coordinating with clients to figure out if they’re available can feel like you’re putting together the pieces of a never-ending puzzle, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Automated appointment booking software can help you book more appointments, fill your schedule, and increase revenue.
Countless appointment scheduling apps have been designed to allow clients to book, reschedule, and cancel their appointments. They take the headache out of coordination by syncing with your calendars and letting you to you specify parameters about when people can book certain services.
Calendly is one popular example that connects with up to six of your calendars to automatically check availability and help you connect with your contacts at a mutually convenient time. And here’s a list of 9 other scheduling app options on the market for you to consider.
So, what is an invoice, exactly? In many ways, they’re the bread and butter of most businesses. When running your business, issuing invoices is often an integral part of your business – after all, you use them to get paid. But the process of entering the same information over and over again, searching through paperwork and crafting can be repetitive and time-consuming.
Online invoicing software is a comfortable, secure solution that automatically saves your information and enables faster payments. It gives you the ability to send payment reminders with one click and collect compensation online. As though on autopilot, you can also set up recurring invoices to be sent to repeat clients.
And financial reports related to payments, expenses, and tax summaries can be generated whenever needed. Customized invoices proudly displaying your logo, company information, terms and conditions, payment methods, and thank you messages also go a long way with impressing clients. If you’re somehow not yet fully convinced, here are some additional reasons for investing in automated invoicing.
To Wrap Things Up
Sure, the time spent hitting send on a post or filling in an invoice template might seem like a drop in the bucket. But remember, the minutes add up. And the areas and accompanying tools mentioned here are just the tip of the iceberg. Do yourself a favor and start automating more of the manual tasks that invade your freelance business. Let tech take care of some of the admin work while you take back some of your time.
Author Bio: Uwe Dreissigacker is the founder of online invoicing software InvoiceBerry & also offers free invoice templates to businesses. Small businesses and sole traders can create, send, and manage their invoices, quotes, and credit notes with the tool. In his free time, Uwe travels the world and enjoys experiencing different cultures.
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