How to automate your home business

With any small business, it’s possible to get caught up in administration. Consider taking steps to automate your business processes, so that you can focus on paying work.

How to automate your consulting business

  • Develop "boilerplate" responses for emails and proposals
  • Implement a customer relationship management system for handling incoming leads (like calls and emails)
  • Give clients a small discount to incent them to use Paypal, email money transfers and similar methods to pay you
  • Pay your subcontractors by Paypal or email money transfer
  • Outsource low-skilled, repeating tasks, so that you can focus on higher paying work

Do you have any tips for "automating" your home business?

GirlPie says:

Nicolas — I can suggest three things that I do to answer your needs:

1) place anniversary reminders with a free service called Reminders at Candor.com/reminders — it sends you an email with a simple reminder for you to act on.

2) write yourself an email (or forward a reminding email) to be delivered on a future date — Outlook does this, I’m sure the others do too.

3) Look into MyEmma.com for easy, affordable, stylish, personalized “mass” emails that brand your business and allow many tools for tracking opens, replies, etc. And magnificent support.

And a bonus resource: www. Speak-write . com — a swell dictation service; they’ve got a free trial, check them out. They take your sound file or phone call or even text and transcribe/deliver to your inbox or fax or both 24/7.

I don’t have any connection beyond being a happy customer… any other ideas Readers?

Sorry to say I found this post a let-down (“first, get world peace; then drop that extra weight; finally, find true love.”) Gee, thanks for the specifics…

Anonymous says:

Nicolas — I can suggest three things that I do to answer your needs:

1) place anniversary reminders with a free service called Reminders at Candor . com / reminders — it sends you an email with a simple reminder for you to act on.

2) write yourself an email (or forward a reminding email) to be delivered on a future date — Outlook does this, I’m sure the others do too.

3) use MyEmma.com to send emails to your list that are stylish, easily personalized, and terrific for tracking responses, opens, etc. It’s a marvel, and the service is magnificent.

And a bonus resource: try www . Speak-writer . com for transcribed dictation of your sound file, or just a memo (or a book!) you want to dictate into the phone. They have a free trial and are perfectly priced.

I have no connection to any of these other than a long time happy client.

Any other ideas, Readers? Sorry to say, I found this post a bit of a let-down (“first: get world peace; then: lose the extra weight; finally: find true love.”) Gee, thanks for the details…

Nicolas Roberge says:

When you mention CRM, what product do you recommend? I tried several and they seem not very adapted to freelancers. My needs are mostly a system to remind me to touch base with my contacts at regular intervals and to be able to send multiple mails that are based on a templates (that look like a normal email and not a flyer).

Anonymous says:

I often stress the value of automating a lot of business aspects – whether with a home business or any small self-run business – with really good templates. I think in today’s marketplace, especially in the professional service industry (I work with small business computer consultants) it’s really important to keep things personal, as we’re seeing that personalized service is even more important than it has been before. I think while some automating is possible (having basic templates for proposals, customer satisfaction surveys, invoices, etc.) you still have to make sure to leave some flexibility in there for a little bit of personalization (though not too much, so you stay consistent and professional!) to avoid ever erring on the side of being too “cold” and also to account for the different needs to help boost relationships.

Angela Stringfellow says:

I work with a company called MBO Partners that saves me a lot of time by invoicing my clients for me and following up on late payments when necessary. They also give me a single W-2 at the end of the year, which makes my tax management much easier. I use their web-based timekeeping system to keep track of my hours, which is very user-friendly, and can submit expense reports to them and take advantage of deductions immediately instead of waiting til the end of the year. I also have access to group healthcare benefits and retirement savings plans. They are super friendly and knowledgeable, I would highly recommend them to any independent consultant bogged down with back-office tasks.

Andrea says:

What features are you looking for? It sounds like you could just get away with MS Outlook.