It’s getting to be that time of year when our thoughts turn away from winning new clients and growing our business to going somewhere to unwind. You might be the world’s most productive and amazing business owner, but taking a vacation is essential for both mental and physical health. But have you ever gone on vacation, only to come back to a full inbox and a mile-long list of things to do? It’s almost like entrepreneurs are punished for wanting to take some time off! That’s where ways to automate your business comes in and save you from having to play catch up (at least to some extent).
Today, there are many ways to get work done, some of which don’t even involve having a real person do anything! Thanks to software and affordable remote workers, you can take a stress-free vacation any time of year. What’s more, deploying these approaches can help scale and grow your business, and you may never want to go back once you deploy these approaches! Let’s take look at some simple business automations that will free up your time and keep things moving forward so you can take some well-deserved time off.
We talked about Zapier and IFTTT in our Best Tools for Freelancers post, but it’s worth revisiting to look at this from a small business/startup owner standpoint. In case you’re not familiar with them, these two services allow you to connect one or more software systems to each other to share data, and ultimately save you time. They can be used for a nearly endless variety of tasks, including (but not limited to):
To use these types of services, you need to set up a “trigger” and an action related to that trigger. For example, let’s say someone fills out a contact form on your website. That information can be delivered to your inbox, of course, but it can also be used to populate a customer relationship management (CRM) system. Automations like this can save you an enormous amount of time, avoiding duplicate or repetitive work.
Social Media Management Automation
Managing social media accounts can be a huge time suck, and going dark just because you want to sit on the beach for a while isn’t really an option in today’s always-on world. There are a number of ways to automate posts to social media, cross-posting to different accounts, following people who follow you, and more.
There are a ton of social media management tools out there that provide this type of automation. Some will grab content from a feed and push that into your social media feeds. These types of automations often need to be tweaked, though, so it’s best to get the kinks worked out before going on vacation. Otherwise, you might find posts are poorly formatted or not appearing correctly on social networks.
Now, do you want to do this all the time? Probably not. After all, social media is about being social. Authentic and real engagement is still the lifeblood of social media. But at least with this type of automation, you can keep your accounts active while you relax.
Autoresponders, Chatbots, and Virtual Assistants
Like most businesses, your company probably receives a set number of standard questions. If you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to prepare a library of common responses. Once you do that, responding to common email inquiries can be automated using email autoresponders that look for keywords and provide your pre-determined response. Similarly, chatbots can provide a similar level of engagement through your website, though they often need to be able to connect to a real person if the questions get too complex.
And that’s where virtual assistants come in. We’re not talking about Siri or Alexa, though. We’re talking about someone who works for you as a remote worker, who can respond to emails or manage more complex questions that come through a chatbot. VAs don’t have to be expensive, either. Many of them are remote workers who are highly trainable and can help with a wide variety of tasks.
If you’re looking for a high-quality virtual assistant who can respond to emails and chats while you’re on vacation, we can help. Our Concierge Service does all the work of finding and screening candidates for you. We give you a number of options, and you can interview and hire the one that best suits your needs. Best of all, we do this for a single, low-fee.
So, if you’re dying to go on vacation, but you’re afraid of taking time off, why don’t you give a VA a try? Contact us to get started.