Mumpreneur

  • How to effortlessly automate your online business

    how to automate and simplify your online business

    Introduction

    Ok, so you’ve figured out that if you keep going at the pace you are going, burnout and exhaustion from your side hustle is just around the corner.

    At this point, you are looking around for answers on how to do get things done faster in your business (or how to eliminate some tasks completely). The technology and systems to make this happen might feel a bit overwhelming for you.

    Before we go through the steps on how to automate your online business without tech expertise, I would like to explain why you should be investing the time to do it in the first place.

    Why you should automate your online business

    One of the best investments you can make is automating your online business. Actually, if you want to increase your revenue, you have got to increase the time that you spend on revenue-generating activities. Automation becomes key in freeing up your time from non-revenue but necessary tasks in your business.

    The time you save along the way is so much more worthwhile than the upfront time & (sometimes) financial resources needed to automate your business.

    The sooner you start to build a system and automation strategy for your business, the easier it is to scale it up for massive growth (without scaling up your time spend on it).

    If you are running your side hustle without a team, the overwhelm is sure to get to you at some point. Especially when you can’t keep up with the pace of the growth of your business.

    Furthermore, building a side hustle alongside a corporate job and motherhood significantly cuts down your availability for your business. Automation and systemizing your business is a necessity when you are building a team in your business

    Before you start throwing your hard-earned money at the hottest tools and software in town, here are a few mistakes to avoid:

    Going straight for the tools before you organize and put systems in your business

    You need to cover some groundwork so that the automation is layered onto your business once you have the right systems and organization in place.

    Thinking that automation is the magic bullet to your overwhelm

    Automating your online business is just a part of the solution, not the entire solution

    Paying for software or tools that you don’t need at the current stage of your business

    Only buy or subscribe to a new tool if you have noticed a gap in your systems which the tool can fill.

    Bonus tip: always subscribe to the trial version before plunging in a year’s worth of subscription fees. Since you aren’t sure if you really need the tool.

    Window shopping and spending days deciding between different tools, and not taking action

    The most important aspect of automation is how you use its features and functionalities, and what you put into the tool.

    While I would always suggest that you choose tools that are widely used, I would also recommend that you don’t spend too much time window shopping on the minute differences between your options.

    Hopping from one tool to the next

    This is also known as the fear of missing out. There will always be a new application on the block so, focus on the applications that you have. Only jump ship if you have noticed a gap or absence of specific functionality that you need.

    Remember that moving from one tool to another will not only cost you the lost subscription fees but also the lost time and resources spent trying to learn and input your data into the tool.

    Overwhelming yourself with too many software systems or tools at the same time

    I get that automating your business might be one of the most exciting things happening right now for you, but trying to do it all at once will only lead to more overwhelm and frustration.

    The best way to avoid these mistakes is by going through the 4A method every time you want to automate an aspect of your business.

    How to automate your online business using the 4-A Method

    1. Audit your business

    What tasks are the most time-consuming?

    What do you do in your business that you don’t enjoy doing?

    Which tasks would you like to reduce the time you spend on them (or eliminate them completely)?

    These are such important questions to ask yourself as you set your business goals because the whole point of automating your business is to create efficiency and bring back the excitement that you once had before you started getting overwhelmed and overworked.

    2. Align your tasks to processes

    Ok, automation done right is not all fun and tech. There is a step that is often overlooked, and that’s the process documentation (also known as Standard Of Operating Procedures)

    It isn’t as complicated as it looks. All you need to do is write down the steps that you take before you consider a task as complete. You can read more about this here.

    Start with the most important tasks, then go to the most time-consuming tasks. An easy way of doing this is having a notebook next to you when you start doing a certain task and taking note of each and every step until completion.

    You probably know most of the steps to your daily or weekly repetitive tasks. But it’s interesting how much else you can pick up when you document your tasks as you complete them.

    3. Assess what can be automated

    I would suggest that you go through each process at a time, and circle the tasks which you don’t like or are repetitive.

    You will need to do some research or hire an online business manager. Even better, hire a coach like me, who specializes in helping mompreneurs create time savings in their businesses.

    You can always make Google your friend in this research phase, but be sure to do enough research, especially as the cost of automation goes up.

    4. Automate!

    Here’s the fun part, choosing your applications and tools for your online business. If you want to know how to automate your online business, please go through all the steps above before you start window shopping for tools and applications.

    Here are a few tips to help you choose the right tools to automate your online business:

    Start by automating the most obvious tasks or processes from your assessment.

    Typical processes include:

    • Social content strategy and system
    • Invoicing and Payments
    • Project/ Task Management
    • Business file organization

    Choose a tool that is widely used

    Widely used tools are also updated and bug-fixed regularly to give the users a seamless customer experience. The owners of these tools also provide great customer support. If you get stuck or need help figuring something out, you can always contact their customer support before you hire someone to help you out. One of my favourite tools is Asana, and they provide free customer support even for their free version!

    Available tech-tutorials for beginners

    I love software providers who also give crash courses or tutorials on how to make the most of their applications. You will learn so many more functionalities than if you just dig in and try to figure out everything alone

    Focus on automating one aspect of your business every month

    This also means that you don’t need to make a lump sum investment in getting the tools you need, at once.

    Focusing on one process or system at a time will help you reduce the overwhelm of trying to learn everything at once especially if tech is a bit intimidating for you.

    You could take your time to learn the new tool, go through the functionalities and options. Ensure to make the most of your trial version before making the final decision to use the tool to automate your online business.

    Outsource the automation process

    If the entire automation process still scares you (which is absolutely ok), then get help!

    Get help automating your processes so that you can focus on the more important revenue-generating tasks (because your business should not take a pause due to the ongoing automation exercise).

    Fiverr.com is one of my go-to websites for outsourcing or getting help on short-term tasks. They have amazing freelancers who can help set up your systems at a low cost.

    Pro tip: I would suggest that you make sure they explain everything they have done and that you take notes. This way you can troubleshoot and learn from what they have done so that you don’t have to hire someone for every small change or update you need to your systems. 

    In conclusion, 

    Automating your online business is one of the best things you can do to set yourself free from the overwhelm and burnout that I see so many women go through before their business has even hit the ground.

    What areas of your business do you think would benefit the most from automation?

    How to effortlessly automate online business using 4-A method.

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  • The advantages of a business plan to fuel your business growth

    Five advantages of a business plan to ignite your business growth.

    We all dread the process of developing a business plan because honestly, it can be a taxing process. But guess what? Without a business plan, it’s safe to say you have no business. And we all know failing to plan is planning to fail. A business plan is not only one of your most important assets it also has numerous advantages for the growth of your business.

    #1: Is your idea viable?

    A business plan helps determine the viability of your business idea. Developing a business plan allows you to assess beforehand how viable your idea is. Besides the business plan, the only other way to determine whether your business idea is feasible is by going out and doing it. Having a business plan will save you time and money when it comes to testing the feasibility of the business idea.

    As you develop your business plan, you get to learn more about your industry, potential customers, and competitors. This enables you to make the necessary adjustments to ensure your product or service meets the needs of your potential customers.

    #2: Hiring Personnel

    Another major advantage of a business plan is that it helps to map out the people and skills that you will need to execute your business idea. Your business plan becomes a guideline on the people who are a best fit for your business, when you need them and the level of skill that they need to have. As the team grows, your business plan becomes your point of reference. A team that is diverse, skilled and aligned to the business’s vision and goal(s) will help you get closer to your business goals, and sometimes even faster.

    #3: Setting Goals

    We all know how vital goals are for any business. This brings about another advantage of a business plan as it helps in setting your big ambitious goals and objectives.

    Once you are clear on the vision of your business, it makes it so much easier to set goals and create an action plan that you can review on a quarterly basis. You can use these goals to assign different areas of work to your team members. You can also use these goals to create your own KPIs and get an accountability partner to hold you accountable. And determine whether the milestones and targets you have set in your action plans are being met or not. 

    Over and above business goals and objectives, a business plan prompts you into analyzing all aspects of the business from the major ones to the nitty gritty. It captures the objectives and plans for each team in your business (whether you have actual team members or not) i.e. finance, marketing, operation, human resources, etc.

    #4: Seeking Investment

    When seeking investment for your business you need to sell yourself in the best way possible. A well-done CV gives any candidate a competitive edge. A business plan is perceived as the curriculum vitae for your business, if it is well done it gives you a competitive edge. It’s undeniable how important a great business plan is for your business.

    #5: Scenario building 

    Another advantage of a business plan is it provides an avenue for building scenarios. This is important as it ensures that you understand the risks, uncertainties or any constraints that your business may run into. This is quite beneficial in helping with planning ahead for your business, and ensuring that you have a plan in case you run into any of these risks along the road.

    In Conclusion,

    From the above pointers, it is evident that the importance of a business plan cannot be underestimated. Running your business without a business plan is a form of self-sabotage. Now would be a good time to get working on your business plan. P.S Don’t rush it – take your time and come up with a ‘bullet-proof’ plan. If you already have a business plan remember to keep revising it and adjusting things depending on how your business vision evolves.

    Five advantages of a business plan to ignite business growth.

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  • How to effortlessly create a balanced scorecard for business

    A business scorecard objectives are to measure the true health of your business and progress in your strategic goals. The balanced scorecard for business helps monitor four key perspectives that make up the primary focus areas of the business scorecard. 

    The balanced scorecard for business helps create a systemized way of assessing the performance of your business and keeps the consistency in doing so. This is the only way you can assess the progress you are making from one period of time to the next.

    Let’s have a look at each of these criteria below.

    Financial

    The financial perspective is arguably one of the most popular focus areas for business owners. Much as this is a critical aspect of your business, it is a function of decisions made before seeing the results through the financial outcomes of your business. If you are solving your customer’s problems in the most efficient way possible and you are constantly learning new ways to grow your business, then the financials will definitely show for it.

    What are your current financial goals, and what projects or activities are you focusing on to reach your target? The answer to this question will form the first part of the balanced scorecard for your business.

    As you go along, you will also need to start looking at your financials and start making decisions based on the numbers. You can always get someone to help you make sense of the numbers. However, don’t make decisions on projects or focus areas if you haven’t looked at the financials.

    Customer

    Without the customer, your business is a hobby. Your customer’s needs, desires, pain points, fears, worries should always be at the center of your business.

    You could track the number of new and repeat customers on a monthly basis. Track their level of satisfaction through surveys as a means of evaluating how well you are performing in this area. How well are your products and services serving customers in a way that meets their deepest desires? Who are your ideal customers and how are their buying behaviours changing? These are all questions that you want to keep asking yourself as part of the balanced scorecard process.

    The easiest way to get your customer KPIs on track is to detail out who exactly your customer is, and get as much feedback as possible whenever they use your products or services. Big corporations use Net Promoter Scores to get an objective view of how their customers view them. Similarly, you can engage your customers and use the feedback shared to refine your product.

    Processes

    The processes perspective of the business balanced scorecard focuses on how efficient and effective your business processes are. Are you doing things as efficiently as you can? Are you spending time on the 80% of activities that only give you 20% of revenue?

    Perfecting your processes is key in saving yourself time and money. One of the easiest ways of doing this is setting up systems in your business to make your processes as efficient as possible.

    Think about the systems you can implement today, with as much simplicity as possible, so that you can save time on those repetitive tasks that you know you have to do, but don’t necessarily directly contribute to your bottom line.

    The quickest way to get your processes in check is to start by writing down all your standard operating procedures. Once you have documented them, it’s so much easier to track what’s working and what isn’t. It also makes a significant difference when you give new team members your SOP Manual so that they know how things should be done in your business without you having to explain the same thing over and over again.

    Learning & Development (L&D)

    Especially in the online business world, where many people tend to think that they can get away with google search and youtube to grow their business, it is important to place a target on your learning and development. If you want to grow, there will always be skills and experiences that you can learn from more experienced people. The L&D perspective captures your business’s learning needs and the approach to tracking progress, budgets required, and impact.

    If you are a solopreneur, you need to continuously improve your knowledge and skills. The learning could be in the form of trainings, mentorship programs, workshops, new courses etc. Keep a budget aside for this, and start seeing it as an investment in growing your business.


    Free GUIDE: Plan & Organize your business in a Day!

    In Conclusion,

    Take some time to map out your goals for each of the 4 areas of the balanced scorecard for your business. Each goal should be linked to an activity or project within your business, even if it’s the same activity across more than one scorecard area.

    Remember to track your progress, review what’s going well and what isn’t and refine your products and processes along the way.

    Check out my Plan your business in a day guide here!

    A gudie for mompreneurs on how to effortlessly create a balanced scorecard for your business.

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  • Systemize your business like a #bossmom using my 4S Method

    Systemize your business like a pro using my 4s method.

    What parts of your business are the most stressful? What if it was possible to stop getting stressed out about anything and everything in your business, and start working like a BOSS? Systemize your business using my 4S method; this is not a quick fix, but if you take time to put in the work upfront, you will reap the benefits and become the #bossmom that you truly are!

    I am sharing my 4S method with you because these systems have enabled me to

    • build a community from scratch during a pandemic
    • raise two babies and a toddler AT home and spend 24 hours of my day with them
    • share valuable information with you so that you can build a thriving business!

    If you do not systemize your business, you are going to spend so much time running around doing things that you should actually be doing on autopilot! 

    Remember, your time will always be limited and that is why you need systems to help you get over the overwhelm, burnout and misery that a lot of mumpreneurs endure unnecessarily.

    And don’t even think of hiring someone to help you out before you go through my method below. You can’t expect someone else to know what to do when you don’t have a proper system in place to show them!

    1. List down all your tasks

    What do you do every single day in your business?

    What have you done for the last 6 months in your business?

    List everything from marketing to product development to customer enquiries to social media communication to website development…… Whew, being an entrepreneur is werrrk!

    2. Split your tasks between once-off and re-occurring

    You should now have main categories and then a column for once-off and re-occurring tasks under each category. So for example, under CUSTOMER there should be a column “ONCE-OFF” and a column “RE-OCCURRING”.

    If you find yourself repeating the same task often, then the chances are high that part of the task can be automated.

    Tick off the items in the “re-occurring” list that you think can be automated.

    For example, if you find yourself sending the same response to your customers when they make a specific enquiry, then save this response in draft emails or templates on your email service provider’s platform, and use the template instead of typing out the response each and every time. This task should therefore be ticked as “automated” to indicate that you will work on putting a process in place to cut down the time spent on this task.

    Systemize your business like a pro using my 4s method.

    3. Systemize the tasks marked as “automate” in the list of re-occurring tasks

    If you think it can be automated, chances are that someone has already developed an app or program to automate the task. Let Google be your friend in doing the necessary research, and hit me a reply if you need help on finding solutions to systemize your business.

    Technology can be your best friend if you make time to find simple solutions and apps to help you thrive! The best part: a lot of them are FREE!

    The apps I use (almost daily) the most to manage this community:

    • Notion – planning & keeping all my processes and biz resources in 1 central place
    • Canva – DIY graphic design
    • Mailerlite – Free customer email management tool
    • Planoly – Plan my social media posts

    4. Prioritise tasks that cannot be automated

    There will be tasks that will need your unique attention, and some that not even an assistant can help you with.

    This is when you need to prioritise. The items on the top priority should be revenue-generating, customer-nurturing items.

    Everything else should either be:

    • outsourced
    • batched (find a time(s) during the week to complete these activities in one go, instead of trying to do them everyday)

    You are the CEO of your business! Do not spend your time completing tasks. Actually, not more than 20-30% of your time should be spent on these tasks.

    You should be spending 70-80% of your time thinking about how to grow your biz, build trust from your target customers and improve your product/service offering and promote your business.

    Like and share this post with your fellow bossmom friends if you found it useful and you are ready to systemize your business using my 4s method!

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  • Overcoming overwhelm as a mumpreneur

    How to overcome overwhelm as a mumprene in five simple steps.

    Last week, I surveyed a group of around 15 women online and the results were astounding; 85% of these women mentioned that their greatest challenges as mothers with businesses was lack of time and burnout! So if these are feelings you often experience, you are not alone. It is very easy to experience overwhelm as a mumpreneur, with so much to do and the same amount of time to do it as everyone else in the universe. The truth is…..

    Time will never be on your side! As a working mom of 3, I often find myself working at weird times of the day (or night), trying to literally burn the midnight oil before my kids stop my work mode!

    That’s why creating and committing to using a system to make the best use of your time, will get you from constantly feeling overwhelmed as a mumpreneur, to becoming confident that you are in control of your business.

    Here are 5 hacks that have helped me to build a business as a new mom of twins, while being able to spend quality time with my newborns and toddler.

    1.CREATE TIME SCHEDULE

    I created a time management planner for bossmoms, which you can download below. It has been a timesaver, and helps me to focus on my action plan for the week without becoming derailed by other “urgent” things that come up during the week.

    2.USE PRODUCTIVITY APPS

    You can view my post here to see the apps that I use frequently to keep me on track with my goals and action plans every single week. The app that I use the most from this list is To-Doist.

    I stopped taking mental notes of things I need to do, and started documenting everything. The minute I have more than 5 things on my daily to-do list, I start prioritizing and rescheduling, to avoid the overwhelm as a mumpreneur that eventually turns out into burnout.

    3.BECOME AWARE OF HOW YOU USE YOUR TIME

    If you have an iPhone, then you know that the new screen-time functionality/app can either be a sore eye opener or a lifesaver, depending on how you look at it.

    This app has helped me to be aware of how much time I spend on unproductive activities, excess time on social media and chatting on Whatsapp which never seems to be an activity that has an end to it.

    If you are on Android, you can try an app like Moment.

    Once you are aware of how you spend your time, then you will be able to easily pivot and make new decisions on your time-spending habits.

    Trust me, you do not have to reply to every single whatsapp or Instagram comment within 5 minutes of receiving them. The world can wait. Be intentional about how you spend your time, so that

    • you can have more time to build your empire
    • you can have more free time to do the things you love
    How to overcome overwhelm as a mumpreneur in 5 simple ways.

    4.KNOW WHEN TO OUTSOURCE

    Depending on the stage in which your business is, and your budget, you might be at a point where your business will not be able to grow if you do not get help.

    If you already have a good system to make your tasks efficient and you are managing your time well, and still experiencing overwhelm, then this might be a sign that you need help.

    HOWEVER, ensure that all your processes and systems are in place so that your team member can perform her tasks efficiently and in a way that does not require your constant monitoring.

    5.KEEP EVERYTHING IN A SINGLE PLACE: SYSTEMS

    I have detailed post on how I systemize my business so that repeatable tasks are efficiently completed.

    The point is, if you are organized and know where to find things easily in your business (whether online or in your physical files), then

    • hiring someone to help you will be so much easier
    • your company can actually function without your presence
    • you will save yourself A LOT of time that would otherwise be wasted by trying to find where you saved your brand logo, or what to check for when creating an Instagram post

    In conclusion,

    You do not have to experience overwhelm as a mumpreneur. Commit to taking a week to doing the groundwork of putting systems in place, becoming more self aware of how you are spending your time, and committing to 3 time-saving habits for 3 months.

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