Running your own creative biz comes with a lot of necessary evils.
When you’re a creative working for someone else, you don’t have to worry about management, finances, marketing, and all that. You just did your creative job.
But when you’re a creative running the whole damn show, there’s a lot of uncreative, frankly boring, things you have to bother yourself with.
But totally worth it in the grand scheme of things, right?!
So that’s why we need to go Full Court Mary Poppins on that part of creativepreneurship: in every job that must be done, there is an element of fun! So we take that fun, amplify it, and streamline the rest!
Okay, Julie Andrews only sang about the first part, but it’s still good advice.
Automating your creative biz lets you outsource the stuff you don’t wanna do, but has to get done. Then you can take all that time you save, and use it however you choose!
So today, I’m laying out all the parts of creative solopreneurship that can, well, suck, and how automating your business can un-suck it!
1. Solve inbox insanity
Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt like your inbox will be the demise of your solo business.
Are you sitting in a room alone with your hand raised right now? Me too.
I used to think email was the bane of my business’s existence. For awhile, it was even the main thing holding me back from starting a business. My personal email situation was so bad, it was basically its own side hustle in terms of time commitment.
I’ve yet to find a creative entrepreneur who doesn’t struggle with spending too much time on email.
On one hand, it takes forever.
There’s going through your inbox, foldering and archiving things, reading, clicking, replying, etc. And that doesn’t even cover the list of new email conversations you have to send yourself, or your email marketing.
But on the other hand, some of the most important communication for your business will happen over email. It’s still crucial for you to do your job.
It’s one of the biggest necessary evils for almost any solopreneur.
You can’t cut it out completely, so you’ve just gotta make your processes as efficient as possible.
With workflow automation, you can create processes so that:
- You only receive emails you actually want to read
- Important messages don’t get drowned out by marketing messages and newsletters
- New email notifications don’t distract your from profitable work all day
- Contacts that actually matter to you hear from you sooner
Clearly, it’s very, very awesome.
2. Make social media more social
Now, social media automation is a tricky thing. Saving time on social media – hell, social media in general, is a tricky thing.
On the one hand, you have to actually engage and be present and human and social. In order to build social relationships on social media, you have to go in and have conversations and build relationships.
And that, you should always do yourself.
You can’t automate relationships.
But on the other hand, you also have to promote your content and curate expert content and follow influencers and audience members and post regularly on multiple networks. Basically, there’s a whole lot of other stuff.
And that shit takes forever.
So it’s hard to find the right balance of being engaging and being productive, interacting and automating.
And straddling that delicate line is why this lesson is so important.
So I hope you’re taking notes, my friend. It’s time to get down to business.
You need to automate and streamline parts of social media so that you can spend more time on those other parts that need a human touch – your uniqueness and personality.
The stuff that apps and bots can’t handle.
I like to say that automation starts the conversations on social media for you, then you go in and continue them once automated posts get a response.
3. Cross “write to-do list” off your to-do list
Your to-do list is one of the most important assets to a productive creativepreneur.
It’s the equivalent of sheet music to an orchestra. A pattern to a seamstress. A recipe for a chef.
It’s your game plan to success.
But…it’s also a BIG time waster – both in terms of how much time it wastes and how important that time is.
It’s been proven over and over again that how you start your morning sets the mood for the day ahead. So if you start out frazzled and unfocused, without knowing what you need to work on and when, frazzled and unfocused you’ll stay, all day.
On the other end of the spectrum, you could start each day by planning things out immediately when you wake up, or even the night before, to gain clarity as soon as possible.
But in that case, we usually spend insane amounts of time planning out to-dos, taking time away from DOING them.
Womp, womp, womppppp…
I used to spend half an hour each morning putting together my to-do list. Then I realized that that added up to almost 3 hours each week that I wasn’t crossing things off my to-do list.
So instead, thanks to the automations we discuss below and a few other productivity hat tricks, I can put together a clear and focused game plan each day in 5 minutes or less.
4. Create more content creation time
For most solopreneurs, finding a balance between their blog and the rest of our biz can be…not easy.
It pulls us away from actual money-makers like creating products or completing client work, but it’s also what gets you that freaking work in the first place. You can’t deny that it works.
It’s one of those annoying “chicken and egg” scenarios, I tell ya…
You don’t want too spend too much time on stuff like blogging and social media, but you can’t ignore it completely. It still needs to serve as your business’s sales team, HR manager, customer support team, and more.
You need it, but it can be needier than a stage 5 clinger.
So how do you manage your time when a system you heavily rely on also sucks away a ton of your time and energy?
If you’ve been paying attention to this post, you know…
Say it with me, kids…
Automation is perfect for blogging because it’s one of those things that’s less creative than you originally think. Theoretically, you want it to be all about the content. But in reality, it’s also moderating comments, formatting and maintaining posts, promotion, yada yada yada.
And that “yada yada yada” stuff is perfect to automate, so you can spend more time and energy on actually creating content.
There are two main categories of blog automation, in my book:
- Automating blog maintenance
- Automating blog promotion
Most people hate on the term blog automation, assuming we’re talking about actually automating creating content, but not at all!
I mean, I’m a writer, I’m not about someone taking work away from me.🙈 I like my work, and the money I get for it.
But automating all the other parts of blogging leaves you more time for content creation, which is…just…😍.
5. Make your calendar seamless
This one’s REALLY like building your own personal assistant.
So one reason a lot of us start our own businesses is so we’re more in control, right?
Then why, after going out on our own, do we let other people control our calendar?
I’m talking things like giving clients the ability to control your schedule by giving them free reign over when your Skype calls are.
Or meeting with coaching students whenever they want.
Sure, giving your customers and clients scheduling flexibility is great in theory, but in reality, it sucks. For one, you still don’t have the control over your time that you wanted. Plus, it usually turns out more like this:
You: Awesome! Let’s meet! When are you free?
Them: How about Tuesday at 2?
You: I have another meeting then. How about 3?
Them: Oh, I’m busy then. How about Wednesday?
You: I’m booked up Wednesday. What does next week look like?
And then it goes on, and on, and on…
So while you’re trying to make things convenient, all that back-and-forth ends up creating more work for your client or customer in the end.
So working like that is just making things harder for everybody.
Instead, use technology and automation to control your schedule and build your ideal day.
Yet another way something uncreative lets you be more creative. 🙌
Automation helps you set and enforce limits with your schedule, save time on planning and setting appointments, and help you build out your best schedule so you can go on livin’ your best life. 💁🏻
If you’re living in the “before” picture right now, here’s a sneak peek at the “after:”
- Have set blocks of time set aside to have meetings and calls.
- Give clients limits and options to choose from.
- Let them seamlessly book appointments with you on their own.
- Build in time for habits and hobbies regularly to FINALLY live that ideal routine.
- Sync all your calendars, to-do list tasks, and projects in one place.
And automation is the time machine that takes you there!
Automate your creative biz
If you’re ready to make your inbox less insane, your content more creative, and your to-do list to-done, you need to automate your creative biz.