Automation: not just for robots

Find yourself stuck with what seems like endless small tasks for your clients? My friend, it's time to automate those small jobs!

The best way to do it? Spend the time (or have a professional do it for you), and set up a process that takes all those repetitive little tasks, and has them happen automatically. It's like magic, but you know, real. 

There’s lots of little things we get sucked into every day, so I’ve outlined a few categories and examples to look into when automating your tasks.

Email communication

Administrative tasks

Whether the above list seems overwhelming, or you’re hungry for more ways to save you time during your day, give me a call and let's evaluate how to make your business run more smoothly.

Things have changed

No one’s inbox is immune - email is definitely the preferred communication for work, and we’re all getting hundreds of emails a week. How do you make yours stand out?

While I can’t ensure your email will get replied to in a reasonable timeframe (I’m no magician), I can help you create professional, effective emails that should help you break through the clutter.

Read on for five basic pieces of advice that will help you navigate the email world efficiently.

  1. Ensure you’re using the right email address

This doesn’t just mean avoid using the numbers 420 and 69. Think about when you say your email address out loud - what’s easier to remember, jen@dumitrescu.com, or jen.dumitrescu.sales.agent@jendumitrescu.com? Taking it a step further, do you have an uncommon, or tough to spell name? Are you .com, .ca, or something totally different that people may get wrong? It’s worth making sure your email address is clear, easy to understand, and avoids opportunities for people to type it incorrectly.

  1. Lead with a great subject line

Subject lines are key. Without a great one, why should people even bother opening your email? Think about asking a question, using numbers (like, oh, I don’t know, ‘5 pieces of email advice’), or using other tried-and-true copy tactics to write a strong subject line that has your readers hooked before they’ve even read the first sentence.

  1. Personalization is king

This is easy if you’re sending emails to just one person. You should spend your first paragraph or sentence relating something directly to them so they know this isn’t just a form email (even if it is). But what if you’re sending a mass email or newsletter - how do you personalize it in that case? Try using a program that allows for variable text when necessary, like entering in a client’s name, or their neighbourhood. They’ll still know it may be going out across the city, but the psychology behind it works.

  1. Keep it simple

No one has time to waste on long, boring emails. Say what you need to say as quickly (but politely) as possible - and then hit send.

  1. Include a strong call to action

This is perhaps the most important point. If your reader gets to the end of their email, and doesn’t know what you want them to do, you’ve just wasted their time - and yours. Ensure that within the first few lines it’s clear what you’re looking for, and reiterate again at the end of your email - don’t leave room for questions.

There you have it - five easy tips for improving the quality of your communication, without a lot of effort. Looking for more advice on how to effectively communicate with your clients and coworkers? Give me a call - or maybe, shoot me an email.

It doesn’t have to

It's a classic scenario - you've got important plans you made weeks ago, when a client wants a last-minute showing. 

You: 

a) Cancel all your plans immediately and book the showing. This could be it!
b) Tell them you'll book something for next week, and risk losing the sale. 
c) Wait... there's another option?

You’re not alone if you find it tough to navigate your personal and work life balance. There are thousands of articles out there on how cell phones, social media, and competitive job markets have led to a lifestyle of always working. But trust me - creating some personal time doesn’t mean you have to risk losing your sales, and it’s critical when you run your own business. 

Figure out how you like to work. If you’re a person that loves the thrill and excitement of closing that sale no matter what - at the risk of always being available to your clients - that's great. However, that work style may not work for everyone, and may not be sustainable in the long run. If you prefer having set hours that you respond to messages and clients, that's great too. You might find it easier to manage your personal life, but there could be implications from a client perspective as well. A lot of it will come from managing expectations and the communication you have with your clients. Be true to you: if you know you’re the kind of person that needs alone time - having a working model of "always on call" might not be for you.

In the long run, experts say time off to recharge is critical to your long term success. And as hard as it is, when you’re self-employed and feel like you should always be connected, remember: it’s okay to take some personal time.

We've already talked about what your time is worth, and how to calculate what your task rate should be. But what about the things that seem like a waste of time, but end up being really important?

What you do during your workday typically  falls into three categories:

  1. Things that are a good use of your time;
  2. Things that aren’t;
  3. And things that you know aren’t a good use of your time, but you do them anyway (and maybe that’s okay)

But how do you determine what’s a good use of your time, and what activities that seem trivial, but might pay off in the long run?

Turns out, there’s one simple question to ask yourself that should give you the answer - and here it is:

What’s the potential outcome of this?

In order to be a good use of your time, or valuable in some sense, it should fall into one of four categories:

If your task isn’t hitting at least one of those points, your answer should be clear: delegate it, forget it, or change it.

Here’s an example:

You’ve got three things on your plate this morning: renewing your driver’s license so you can drive your clients to showings, learning WordPress so you can update your website, and practicing a client listing presentation. What’s the best way to spend your time?

Let’s break it down. 

Looking at the results, while the driver’s license renewal may be more urgent, overall, practicing your client presentation is the best use of your time. For more info on determining how best to spend your time, let’s book a call and navigate together.

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