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Is your business taking more time away from you than a corporate job? When you are the main or only person in your business, you will find yourself doing most of the lifting. That means doing all the accounting, marketing, lead generation and more. It’s time-consuming, and if we’re being honest, that’s not why you started your business. As a young entrepreneur, business and lifestyle coach Maria Wik quickly learned how important it was to automate processes and organize tasks. Before making those adjustments, she was working seven days a week, balancing part-time jobs and going to college. Something had to give.
I recently asked Wik to share her top-five tips for organically automating and organizing an online business to become as time-efficient as possible. Below are my takeaways from our conversation.
1. The Basics: Building know, like and trust — 2020 style
The first thing someone sees in your business is marketing content, whether it’s on a social media platform, a website, a video or an ad. Reduce, reuse and recycle it. But most importantly, keep it organized in the backend.
Wik teaches her clients to batch-write copy. This is a hack that saves entrepreneurs time and energy so that they can get to the tasks that actually make money in their business. Once written, use an application like Later to post for you.
Related: ‘There’s Nothing Like a Crisis to Make You Think With Speed and Creativity’
2. Lead generation
Once your “know, like, trust” factor is established from your marketing, it’s time to actually call your leads to action and capture them. Sounds a little scary, but that’s what we do: hook, line, sinker. Wik recommends service-based businesses to capture leads with free value, i.e. a free guide, workbook or training. (Wik’s favorite platform for capturing leads is LeadPages.)
3. The warm-up
Wik used to hate technology, but once she realized how easy it actually was to have all her platforms integrate and automate, she was hooked. When your new lead comes in through a landing page, the next step is warming up for a sale. Having your emails automated is a game-changer, eliminating any need to agonize over trying to get repeat buyers or warming up your leads individually.
Wik’s preferred platform for this is ConvertKit, but whatever you tool you choose, the idea is to be able to step back from working on the weekends.
4. Sales pipeline
One of Wik’s favorite, and free, resources is a lead-tracking spreadsheet. It’s extremely important to not only know where a lead comes from and which point the sale is made, but where the lead drops off. This is easy to track, and with a little analysis, it makes money-making efforts that much more profitable.
If projections are rustrating or overwhelming, imagine knowing that every time a specific email goes out, X amount of sales should be made. Or when X sale goes live, this is the typical buying pattern. Tracking the sales pipeline allows you to fully know what is coming, to have peace of mind and also to be able to sleep at night.
Wik used to run a one-woman business, but quickly realized she was trading time for money, and her relationships were suffering. So she first outsourced management of her website, then hired an assistant for engagement and nurturing leads, and now has a team of three supporting her entire business. Wik currently works two-to-three days per week at a max of 15 hours total, and her platforms are thriving.
When outsourcing, ask peers and friends for recommendations, but also bear in mind that LinkedIn, Fiverr (fiverr.com) , Freelancer and Upwork can help you find the support you need. Use your best judgment, and remember: You’re the boss. Communication and management are equally important to ensure all that support works to its fulluest petential.
Related: “As a Black Female Founder, I Know Times Are Hard. Here’s How I Push Forward.”
Automation may seem overwhelming or even a waste of time or money, but as Wik’s methodology underscores, the simple truth is you want your business to be around for the long run. When your car runs out of gas, you fill it up. When you run out of energy in your business, you continue to hustle, because your business can’t exist without you.