Five Tasks To Automate In Your Freelance Business
When people think of automation, their minds often go to robots threatening to replace the human workforce. While this thought makes for a great sci-fi movie plot, real automation is already present in a lot of our work.
Particularly for freelancers, automating repetitive tasks can allow for more time spent on creativity, project management, and the parts of the business you enjoy most.
Consider automating these five tasks in your freelance business and measure how much time you save over six months. Or, if you’re having trouble wrapping your head around how to automate or need help with project management in general, considering outsourcing this function to a PMO. (What does PMO mean?)
Onboarding a new client may present subtle changes occasionally, but generally speaking, the process remains broadly consistent. By automating the process, you’ll spend less time on the housekeeping tasks and devote more time to adequate project preparation.
Send new clients a welcome guide that includes your business policies, expectations, and frequently asked questions. You can also include how you prefer to communicate during a project and how clients handle delays in the project timeline.
Using automation software or your email’s scheduling feature (Gmail does this exceptionally well), schedule the email to land in your new client’s inbox immediately after receiving their first payment. The client will be delighted to get a timely welcome, and you can answer most of their questions in advance.
Welcoming New Email Subscribers
Any business working to build an email list or cultivate email subscribers should have a welcome sequence in place for new email subscribers. This welcome email allows the reader to understand what to expect and helps you satisfy GDPR requirements that confirm you both agree on the email arrangement.
Your welcome email can be one email that covers what you typically send, how often you send emails, and the option to unsubscribe at any time.
Or, you can go with an email sequence over a few weeks that helps your new email friend get to know you better. These might include some of your most popular blog posts, a behind-the-scenes look at how you got started, or some of your best client work.
Responding To Leads
Every freelance business owner should have a website that includes a form to gather new leads. After potential clients complete the form, the lead information can be integrated into your customer database or dropped right into your inbox.
Set up an automated email response to these leads that immediately confirms you’ve received the information, and you’ll be in touch within 48 hours. This simple gesture is your first impression with a potential new customer. Using automation to respond timely and offer clear next steps can make a big difference between booking the client and losing the business.
For recurring clients you bill monthly, automating those invoices will likely result in getting paid faster. Most bookkeeping software systems allow you to set up recurring payments.
Discuss this with your clients ahead of time and ensure they understand how the system works, which email address the notification will come from, and the timeline in which you expect the client to make payment.
Offboarding clients is just as important as onboarding. But, this time, it’s the last impression you’ll make on the client and the only thing standing between you and a five-star review.
Automate your offboarding process to include any necessary final emails and always include a request for feedback. However, don’t simply stop at the “were you satisfied with our services?” type of questions.
The more in-depth questions you ask, the better feedback you’ll receive. For example, here are a few suggestions for questions to ask:
- Where did you start your search for our services? If you used a search engine, what terms did you search for, and which browser did you use?
- What was the determining factor in choosing our company for your project?
- Was there anything about working with us that exceeded your expectations?
- Would you recommend us to others? If so, what would you tell them?
These types of questions get at the heart of how you’re perceived by others and offer insight into which keywords people are searching to find you.