4 Tasks you should automate to save major time & money

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Automation.

It’s such a sexy word. I mean, who doesn’t want the most time-consuming, annoying pieces of their business to run on auto-pilot?

A few years ago, when I first read Tim Ferris’ landmark business book The Four Hour Workweek, my mind was blown by the idea of automation.

Now, 5+ years later, I can’t imagine surviving as an entrepreneur without it.

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I automate tons of stuff in my business personally—from email to social media; sales to invoicing.

Here are 4 business tasks you can automate immediately to start saving you major time and money.


screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-4-20-42-pmThis article is sponsored by AND CO. With a sleek app and a real-life human on your side, AND CO is all you need to take the headache out of running your freelance business. Their sponsorship has not negatively impacted the value or content of this article. Learn more at and.co


1. Automate your email

Do you realize how many hours a day you spend reading and writing emails?

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Here’s an estimate: way too much.

So how can you cut down on the reading and writing of emails?

Clean up your inbox. I use a tool called Unroll.me to automatically put all of my non-personal email (we’re talking newsletters, ecommerce, etc.) in one daily summary email that I get each evening. Plus, I use it to unsubscribe or manage new senders when it finds them. It’s magical.

Create folders and filters. Imagine having a folder for new clients queries and a folder for “pain” clients that email you 10x daily. You can see how you might check your new client query folder more often without the distraction of that client (you know the one).

Use autoresponders. Autoresponders aren’t just for when you’re on vacation. Try setting up an email responder for any new client queries you get in. Let them know you’ve received their email and you’ll be in touch soon. The key to autoresponders: sounding human.

Use email automation software. I personally like Mailchimp (for automating newsletters & sales emails) and ConvertKit (for automating newsletters). You could also use Drip (for sending content to your clients bit by bit) or Reply.io (for cold sales emails).

2. Automate your invoicing and time tracking

If there’s anything that competes with your real work almost as much as email, it’s sending client invoices and collecting payments.

First, there’s remembering to send the invoice at all. Then there’s drafting it up and getting all the terms right (30 net or 15 net?).

Then don’t get me started on following up.

I mean, honestly, how many times should you have to follow up with a client when they haven’t paid their bill?

If you’re tired of chasing down invoices (or hate writing them up in the first place) you should try AND CO—the sponsor of this post.

With AND CO, you can create invoices in 20 seconds or less, track payments and automatically remind your clients if they’re late.

That’ll cut hours out of your month alone.

AND CO also keeps track of your billing schedules to make sure you’re never late to send an invoice and helps you track your time so you never work an hour without getting paid again.

Here’s what I love most: it’s all done by a real-life human being. Not a computer.

Lots of Millo readers have tried AND CO and I’ve heard nothing but good things from them. Learn more about AND CO here.

3. Automate your marketing

Finding time to constantly promote your business to potential customers is exhausting.

Whether you’re cold-calling, emailing clients, searching Craigslist, or searching crowdsourcing sites, you can use your time more wisely.

How? Funnels.

I know, I know. It sounds super spammy and fake. But tons of freelancers and solopreneurs are making loads of money using funnels without spending hardly any time each week to land those clients.

Most people I’ve spoken with are using something like LeadPages to capture email addresses of potential clients. You could also use ConvertKit, Drip, or Mailchimp.

To automate and manage your social media, try tools like Tailwind and SproutSocial.

4. Automate your client onboarding

When a potential client fills out your site form, odds are they’re ready to buy. They’re antsy, excited.

So what happens if you leave them sitting in your inbox for a couple of days?

The cool off.

They think twice.

They find someone else.

Automated onboarding can solve that problem for you—turning lost opportunities into paying clients.

In fact, Millo friend and contributor Dina Rodriguez converts 90% of her prospects into paying clients all because of her stellar onboarding process which you can read more about here.

You can use software like MailChimp or ConvertKit to send automatic replies based on user activities and see if potential clients have read your most recent email.

Some email clients even offer immediate “out-of-office” style responses at intervals after someone emails you.

If you’re using Gmail, give boomerang a try. It’ll send a follow-up email to a potential client at any given interval.

What do you automate in your business?

As the theory goes, if you do it the same way more than once, you can automate it. Whether you hire other human beings to do it for you or find technology to take your place, automation can completely transform your productivity, workflow, and profits.

What do you automate in your business? Leave a comment and let me know. I’d love to chat about it.

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About Preston D Lee

Preston is an entrepreneur, writer, podcaster, and the founder of this blog. You can contact him via twitter at @prestondlee.

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Comments

  1. Hmm, must look into funnels a bit more, sounds very interesting. Thank you for this cool article!

  2. Thanks. I am overwhelmed at all the choices for taking tasks out of my hands. Marketing is by far the worst.

    Dan Raabe

  3. As usual this blog is the greatest thing ever. I’ve been trying to find ways to eliminate some of the admin hassles that take away from my design and consulting.

    I already signed up for mailchimp a while ago but noticed you said use boomerang if you use gmail, which I do. Should I switch? I haven’t used mailchimp yet.

    Thanks for the content!!

    • Hey, Christyl. They are completely different tools. Mailchimp will allow you to send mass campaigns to subscribers. Boomerang will allow you to set a follow-up email x days later. Sorry for the confusion. 🙂