So that you can continue to make money on autopilot
Are you getting tired, confused or overwhelmed in your online business? It’s because you have not simplified your process.
You are doing a lot of things, brainstorming content, coming up with graphics to back it up, responding to emails, showing up on social media and all of that, it’s easy to be overwhelmed.
How can you simplify all of these things?
Streamline all the tools that you use
As an online business owner, especially one that is service-based, you will be using a whole lot of tech tools to increase your productivity. But if you don’t keep it organized, you’ll start to lose your sanity.
Say you use Canva for design, Asana for project management, Buffer for social media scheduling, Convertkit for email marketing, Pandadoc for writing proposals, Contract tools for setting up your contracts…you get the gist, all your stuff will be scattered all over.
When you switch between tools, you'll find it hard to create a cohesive workflow. What you could do instead is choose just 3 essential tools. Canva for designs, a social media management tool like Creator studio or Buffer for social media and a CRM tool for the rest.
I wrote an article here about the 7 things your online business needs to succeed. You can check it out.
A good CRM or CMS that I know is Hubspot, I used it briefly in 2018. With Hubspot, you can set up your invoice, set up your contracts, manage your content, service your customers, manage your onboarding process and ultimately all your business operations.
You will only have 3 platforms to worry about rather than stretching yourself across multiple different platforms.
Set up a Social Media Content Library
A social media content library is like a storage where you save content like the ones you’ve previously used and the ones you stumble upon. It should include videos, audios, reports, proposals, FAQs, templates, pictures and so on.
The purpose of this content library is to help you save time when trying to come up with content for your social media platforms. You won’t have to spend hours brainstorming, you can simply recycle your previously used content, tailoring them to match the now or you can go through the others you have curated and get ideas from them.
Let me tell you what I use for my content library- first, I have a notepad(s) that I write new things I learn down. I love to write as I read, so whatever I’m reading online, best believe that I’m writing them down. When I run out of ideas for my content, I go to my notepad to get some.
Secondly, I have screenshots of posts, inforgaphics, designs and so on on a file on my phone. I get good ideas from that. And finally, I have a Google doc that contains all the script for all my content, whether video or audio and I go to them when I want to recycle old posts.
A content library is more or less like a swipe file that you keep with you and revisit anytime you run out of ideas. I have tons of them.
Use Systems to Get Yourself Organized
In your business, you’ll have recurring tasks, like responding to emails, onboarding a new client, invoicing, creating content and so on. If you have to start from scratch every time a client comes onboard, you’ll be overwhelmed.
When you start tackling a new project, note down all the steps you take from start to finish then systemize it and save it as a template. I used to start from a blank sheet when I just started my online business, until I came across this hack.
Now, when a new web design client rings me, the first thing I do is send them my rate card which is already in a pdf format. When we agree with the price, I send them an onboarding form where they get to answer every question I possibly need to create their website. That form is also accompanied by my contract. After the’ve perused, they send 70% payment and work gets started.
Once in a while, we have a little back and forth via email or Whatsapp to clear any questions I might have. When I’m done, I send them the URL of their new websites, and once everything is good, they send my balance and I send them the website files.
My social media management process is a bit similar too. Once 70% payment has been made, I research their industry and create templates on Canva for their social media posts, and automation starts.
Now for my own online platforms, here’s what I do: I have a template on Canva that’s almost up to 100 slides (the highest you can create on Canva). I have a doc file that contains how I outline my medium posts, and I have a template for repurposing content for all my social media content (I will talk about this in another article).
Right now, I don’t have an email marketing platform or a blog (cos I’m starting from scratch and got rid of the one I had before). But when I do, I’ll have a template ready.
But if we are being honest, you can’t set everything up at the same time. That’s why you need to write down the steps you take first, refine it and systemize it, take it one project at a time. Then batch create.
Up till now, I still struggle with automating my social media posts. That’s because I use Facebook creator studio to post on Facebook and Instagram and right now, my timezone is not properly set. But as soon as I get it fixed, I will start automating as often as I can.
Automation helps you save a lot of time, instead of posting by hand. But automation is not only for social media alone, you also need to automate your newsletters, automate how freebies are delivered into people’s emails once they opt in for it, how invoices are sent, how contracts are delivered, etc. That’s why a CRM/CMS is great.
Create Boundaries and Office Hours
My office hours are pretty much when I wake up in the morning, and when I retire to watch a movie in the evening. Anything outside these periods, I may or may not be doing client work, but I make sure I’m only reachable during those periods. I use my after hours to read, catch up on industry trends and work on my own online platforms.
When I did remote work, I had a boss who would reach out to me any freaking time because ‘our clients can’t wait’ it was super annoying and I vowed never to treat anyone who works with me like that. Boundaries helps your clients to know that you are boss, you know what you are doing and you value your time. They’ll give you all the respect you deserve.
If you are not deliberate about how you run your online business, you may even be wasting more time and exerting more energy than someone who has a 9–5. So read up and start adopting what you can adopt.