By Selena Conmackie
Let’s be real. When you start out as a business owner, you wear all the hats.
Bookkeeper, marketer, operations, fulfillment, copywriter, webmaster, etc.
The list goes on and on. Today’s second installment in our year-long series of entrepreneurship is about how to “outsource” and find the right tools (or people) to help take the load off your shoulders.
Becoming my own business owner was accidental. For years, I had worked for others, so having a work email was always a given. Flash forward to my very first correspondence with a client of my own, and I was using my personal Gmail account. (slaps forehead)
Don’t make the same mistake. Get a dedicated business email account and, to offer some legitimacy to your business, use a domain-owned name.
Just think: Would you buy a $500 product from:
[email protected] (not a real email address, so click it at your own risk) or [email protected] (this is real, BTW)
Here are some places that can help you set up your business email domain:
Zoho (I had used this for my mommy blog when I needed a domain-based email for email marketing software to send out emails.)
Google Workspace (My team and I currently use this.)
CRM: (Customer Reputation Management)
How are you managing your clients and their information, and how do you send them contracts and invoices?
When I started, I used my personal PayPal account to send an invoice — and then my personal email was used for keeping my clientʻs info. (I know. Seven-years-ago Selena was trying, you know?) That seemed fine until I started taking on more clients and realized I needed something to help keep everything organized.
Using a tool like Dubsado, Honeybook and 17 hats is an excellent way to streamline your business processes. They provide a range of features, such as client management, automated invoicing, and workflow automation, which make it easier for businesses to manage their operations with more efficiency.
Besides their practical benefits, these tools also make businesses look more professional. They provide an easy, organized way of managing client information, which can make a good impression on potential customers.
Letʻs define what “automation” means in business. Business process automation is the use of technology to automate manual, repetitive tasks so that employees can focus on critical tasks.
If you utilize technology like me in your business, sometimes you wish they could all talk together to do those tasks that take up so much time.
I found a tool called Zapier that empowers you to automate your work across 5,000+ apps, so you can move forward, faster.
Yes, this is a thing — and you may find you have it in your budget to hire someone to come in and help with organization in your inbox, helping you to correspond with clients. There is a virtual option for everything a personal assistant can help you with to free up your time and bring more money into your business.
Are you using social media to market your business? Have you felt like posting every day can be time consuming and exhausting? Well they make schedulers for that.
What do I mean by that?
Like any business, you should have a marketing strategy and plan for what you are posting and how it aligns with your business goals. Some of us marketing professionals will plan out one week, one month, and/or quarterly the type of content that is being created. We call this batching.
Using a social media scheduler such as Metricool, Buffer, Meta Business Suite can help you get your content uploaded into their software to post it automatically on the designated time and date you have determined.
So now, once your posts go live, all you need to do is look at them and engage with your followers. (Until itʻs time to schedule your next batch.)
Bonus: Whatʻs great is that some schedulers have a free plan or a free trial you can take advantage of to test it out. Or, if you are only posting on Facebook & or Instagram, you can use the free Meta Business Suite to schedule your content!
Social Media Manager:
Psst, maybe you donʻt want to handle the development, creation and execution of your social media plan. No problem. Consider your budget and see if a Social Media Manager can be part of your team and give you the help you need.
Does this help a little?
Itʻs overwhelming at times, and I know there are some days you want to hide in the hall closet and pray it works itself out.
It will, but YOU have to make that happen. The tools above helped me breathe a bit more in the beginning of owning my own business — and I forget that there are others out there who may not know these tools exist. YET. (wink)
Becoming an “accidental entrepreneur” has given the professional in me the chance to gain back some of the identity I had lost when I entered military life. It has also added income to our family finances and our retirement.
If you need an entrepreneur friend, Iʻm here. Let me be your resource.
Some other favorite places that support military spouse entrepreneurs include:
Or, you can connect with me on LinkedIn. Letʻs get to networking together!
About Selena Conmackie
Some call Selena their Social Media Gal, Website Designer Extraordinaire Guru, Genius (their words, not hers). But she’s also a Military Spouse following her husband with her kid and dog in tow to wherever the Army sends them. So, just add Rockstar Mom and Ah-mazing Wife to her list. H A U O L I is the name of her small boutique business. It means Happy in Hawaiian and has a special meaning that became the inspiration for her new journey. Her goal is to help your business to succeed — and social media plays a part in that. She enjoys the game of hashtags and algorithms and helping her clients optimize their online presence.