There was a time when the idea of automating an e-commerce business seemed absolutely insane to me. No lie. I mean, I built my companies from the ground up, getting in and doing every single task from writing product descriptions to running the heat presses to packing and shipping.
But here’s what’s crazy scary: I kind of didn’t have a process that anyone knew about except me! I mean, I had a thriving business making tens of thousands of dollars a month, and all of the things that made it happened lived inside my head. I’m not even sure I had passwords written down! Not only did that mean that I couldn’t take a sick day…it also meant that I couldn’t take a few days off to spend time with my family.
Fast forward about a decade, and here I am in Hawaii with my husband and kids. And you know what? My businesses are humming along in the background. I’m still selling products, I’m still engaging with my customers, and it’s all thanks automating my e-commerce business.
Here are 4 of my top tips and tools to show you how to automate your business:
Trello is a free system that lets you break down every type of task imaginable. Have products been ordered? When will they arrive? Have they been prepped for shipping? Do we have product descriptions written and the right packaging in place? Thanks to Trello, I can see what’s happening by logging in pretty much from anywhere around the world. (And yep—I use it to track my kids’ chores too! Whaaaa….?)
When you’re running an e-commerce business, efficiency is a must. That’s why I’m a raving fan of batching my work. Let me explain using an Instagram example. If you post every day for 30 days, imagine the time it would take you to a) get in the mindset to write your posts; b) actually write the posts, and c) actually post them every single day. Maybe it would take you 20-30 minutes every single day, which translates into like 10 hours a month AT LEAST. But if you plan and write out all 30 posts at once, you’ll save literally 70% of your time.
By focusing your brain on that single task, it is amazing how quickly you can get the writing done, the images edited and everything added to your scheduling program. PLUS, you can set it so it automatically posts on Facebook as well. So you can be on a hike, taking a bubble bath or taking in a movie with your kids while your social media presence is humming along.
Blocking Out Time
Wait—what does block out time have to do with automation?
Thanks for asking! It’s all about productivity.
During a designated time frame (and I also suggest a dedicated quiet space) shut off your cell phone, commit not to check your email and avoid all of those little time sucks that pull your attention away. During these “Power Hours”, when you’re dedicating specific time to specific tasks, your brain goes Into autopilot—kind of like what I explained about batching work. You get into the rhythm of your work and you get things done faster. I gotta tell you—it feels incredible to see how much you can accomplish in a relatively short period of time, and your business will grow because of it.
Hire When You Can
So hiring people counts as automation?
Yes. Let me put it this way:
YOU DO NOT NEED TO DO EVERY SINGLE JOB UNDER THE SUN WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR BUSINESS.
I’m sorry for caps-lock yelling like that, but it’s true.
One of the biggest lessons I had to learn was in order for me to be able to take a mental health day every now and again—and still keep my business on the move—I needed quality people to help me. In short, I needed people in the background who were running things like clockwork. I started with having friends and neighbors help me ship products. Then came people who helped with product personalization. Then I expanded it to some of my business operations. Today, I have a great team I love who take care of certain tasks so that I can concentrate on growing my online businesses while mentoring other e-commerce entrepreneurs.
So there you have it: my favorite tips and tricks for automating an e-commerce business.
And you know what? As always, I’m ready to deliver this information right to you so that you can easily refer to it when you need a little bit of automation inspiration. Just click the link and you’ll be on your way to having it delivered via Facebook Messenger.