Automation has saved my bacon during Covid-19, especially when i was ill in bed coughing my lungs out. Aside from the fact that you can keep making money when you are not actually sitting at a desk working, these automated processes decrease the chance of mistakes, cut down on wasted double handling and free up time for me to do tasks that cannot easily be automated such as customer service and product design. I'm a big fan basically.
There are also some processes that i would like to automate more. Mainly to cut down on waiting time and time zone lag. When looking for processes to automate i think about what tasks i do repetitively, tasks that i sometimes make mistakes doing or jobs that i spend a lot of time doing. There is no point in automating a job that takes 5 minutes once a month, but a job that i spend 2 hours on each day may be a good candidate for creating an automated process.
Here are some of the automations i have in place with Goodordering that i have developed over the last few years. It allows me to work independently and achieve the work-life balance that i have dreamed of.
Shopify order printer
Order printer is a free app, just print out the delivery note and cut out the address, no mistakes copying out. I used to copy out the address but it takes time and sometimes my hand writing was a bit messy.
Drop and Go - Postal Service
No waiting in queues at post office and no paper receipts, everything is electronic. This has been a revelation and i have made great friends with my local post office staff as well. I highly recommend any business to use this service if you use Royal Mail (or equivalent) You put your card on an account and activate an auto top up using your debit card and Voila!! NO QUEUES or waiting, this was especially useful at Christmas time. LINK HERE TO ROYAL MAIL DROP AND GO
I use google docs for one of its main benefits - the ability to share live documents. I use it for warehouse updates returns log, and i have a live stock list which i share with my warehouse. I have also used Google docs when corresponding with journalists or people i want to interview for my blog such as for my Self Employed Buzz articles.
Customer is requested to leave a review 2 weeks after their purchase. I also have a few other automated emails such as order confirmations, shipping confirmations and refund confirmations. These are easy to set up on Shopify.
Using scheduling software you can plan multiple posts ahead of time. Perfect for when you are on holiday in Italy or if you are sick in bed, or simply if you are doing something else and are prone to being distracted. Grouping tasks together definitely saves time. A lighter version of this is using the app to do things such as have instagram posts automatically reposted on facebook or twitter.
Live feeds from ecommerce platform to accounting software
Automatic importing of transactions from e-commerce platform to accounting system, saving hours of manual data entry. It also means that your accounting software is always up to date.
Not so much automation, but being able to talk to customers whilst they are on the e-commerce site live cuts down on the need for long email chains. Using a live chat function that is linked to a messenging app on my phone means I can respond immediately to customer enquiries, leading to immediate sales conversions.
PROCESSES TO FURTHER AUTOMATE OR START AUTOMATING
Wholesale: Streamlining wholesale orders and reorders
Press: saving press clippings onto a folder and posting them on the website
Customer service: I am on the search for a way not to lose track of all customer service enquiries.