How to Automate Your Service Business

I can’t tell you how many times during the first consultation call my clients tell me:

  • They are swamped/busy/overwhelmed
  • Have heard about how to automate their business, but have no idea how to get started

For my business, automation has been key to this one-woman show. It allows me to present a much more seamless, professional first impression for clients and I highly recommend it.

Automating your business doesn’t have to be hard. It can start with one or two simple steps. Here’s what it looked like for me.

I knew lead management was an area I could benefit from automation. I don’t have an assistant to help a client get through all the initial steps but I also didn’t have the time it took to do it myself.

This led to a brainstorming session to determine how could I make those leads feel as comfortable as possible and get them the information they needed before jumping on a phone call – because, let’s be honest, even as a growing entrepreneur I couldn’t be on my email 24/7.

My first step was to sign up for Honeybook. I use it to automate my leads, which means responding right away when one comes in, as well as a place to host my invoices, contracts and forms. It. Is. A. Lifesaver.

Here is my lead workflow in Honeybook:

  • The lead fills in a form on my website. It’s actually a Honeybook form embedded onto my contact page.
  • The lead moves seamlessly into my client pipeline.
  • A template inquiry response goes out and is specific to the package they selected (Brave, Bold or Fearless).
  • This template includes a link to my calendar, so they can schedule a call with me.
  • I get a notification that I got a lead and a scheduled discovery call.

Ah, so nice!

Other Uses for Honeybook

I also use Honeybook to send out proposals, contracts and invoices. This means I am able to spend less time asking for paperwork or collecting payment and more time interacting with my clients, thanks to built-in automated reminders.

If you’re thinking about automating but not sure where to start, ask yourself what takes up a large majority of your time but doesn’t earn you much in return.

Next, search for solutions and ask the following questions:

  • How much will a service or solution cost?
  • How much time does it save?
  • Is the cost savings worth the investment?

A simple example for me is hiring a design assistant. I spend a lot of hours checking for broken links, making minor adjustments, proofing, etc. whenever a client’s site is about to go live. This work doesn’t require extensive design experience but it takes time, and it pulls me away from the activities that do require an expert.

A great design assistant typically bills $50 an hour. My billable rate is $150. I know how much the solution costs and I know that it will save 10-15 hours a week of my time. Then it’s up to me to determine if the cost savings is worth the investment. Maybe it isn’t a dollar for dollar exchange because I’m still ultimately responsible (and will do a high-level review) and there are other costs to factor in, but it’s a good starting point. I can also evaluate what it would mean to get the design audit done without working a lot of late nights and weekends.

I know it’s a bit scary to automate your business – and it takes time to get up to speed on a new program. But, it is worth taking the leap and has been one of the best things I’ve done for my business!

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