When to Outsource and Begin Automating Your Business
As entrepreneurs, we are all busy day-to-day. At a certain point, it can be hard to grow without some sort of outside help to free up your own time. This week, we chat with Zsofia about automating and outsourcing tasks, and how she helps small businesses and entrepreneurs get more of their time back to focus on what is most important.
Nick (00:00): Automation or outsourcing or neither. What is the best option for you in your business? That can be a tough question to answer, especially if it's something you've never considered or you're just starting out in your online business. That is why I brought on Zsofia for this week's episode. Zsofia specializes in working with small businesses and solopreneurs in helping them identify possible opportunities and implementing either automation or outsourcing, whichever would be the best fit for your business. We also cover a few different tools along with several free resources that Zsofia offers to help you better automate and get more of your time back. I think this is a really important topic to discuss because a lot of you listening have either gotten into entrepreneurship or been thinking about starting your own business as a way to escape the nine to five.
Nick (00:45): As you'll hear Zsofia mention in this episode as well, this can oftentimes lead to trading 40 hours a week in your corporate job for 40 hours a week, or sometimes even more per week, for your own business. In many cases, outsourcing and automating specific tasks can help give you that freedom of time that we're all seeking. So let's get right into this episode with Zsofia. This is the Nine-Five Podcast and I'm your host, Nick Nalbach where we get into the minds of entrepreneurs and people just like you. So you can start, build, and grow your own online business.
Nick (01:25): Okay. Welcome to the Nine-Five Podcast. I am sitting here with Zsofia. Zsofia, welcome to the Nine-Five Podcast.
Zsofia (01:32): Thank you. Thank you so much. I'm glad to be here with you
Nick (01:35): To start off the episode. I like to give the listeners a chance to get to know you a little bit, give you a chance to let the listeners know who you are. So why don't you let everyone know who you are and what it is that you actually do?
Zsofia (01:47): Alright. Hi Nick. Hi everyone. I'm Zsofia of My Processes and basically I help busy entrepreneurs to automate and outsource there time consuming tasks, but the goal is for them to not sacrifice the profit. So I have my clients either, if they are looking for, to make the four hour workweek or just simply avoid burnout.
Nick (02:09): Awesome. Do you actually bring on the people in house to, I guess, help with that automation or I guess how does the, how would you help me automate my processes, I guess?
Zsofia (02:18): Okay, good question. So, when I first meet the client. I first try to understand how the business works. Uh, what do they do? What is the biggest pain for them? But my focus point is always how do they generate the revenue? Because there's no point to automate something just for the sake of automation, just for having fun, because let's be honest, either we go for automation or outsourcing that costs money. So it needs to make sense financially and business wise. So we look at how do they earn that revenue? How do they generate the money? And then we look at the processes, they do it because basically if you think about the business is always like some input, which goes through the business process and generates an output which hopefully cash and these business process needs to be made as simple as possible needs to be automated as much as possible and even outsource if this is how the business owners want to do it.
Zsofia (03:10): And when you ask if I bring anybody in house. So basically I like to look at my business as a freedom project. It's a freedom project for me. I'm sorry to start with myself, but I escaped the nine to five in this way. So this is freedom for me. This is freedom for my clients because they can still be the employees of their own business. I think that's very important because a lot of business owner after leaving that usual job setting their own business, they, they end up working full time for their own business, which is, I think not actually the goal for most of us. So this is a freedom project for them and also freedom project for those outsourcers virtual assistance we are working with because they also have the freedom, freedom of working the way they want to work to the time they want to work. And this all together comes in in a sort of balance I hope. And I try to make this balance between them.
Nick (04:06): Yeah, I think that's, you, you mentioned something really early on about automating the right things. And I feel like I kind of fall into that trap where I'm trying to automate everything and I usually spend either time or money trying to figure out how to automate it when really I should be focusing on doing the stuff that matters, the stuff that actually brings in the money,
Zsofia (04:24): But then do you automate things that you hate doing or not enjoy doing, or just, you know, you actually enjoy automation.
Nick (04:31): I actually do enjoy the automation of things. I've been trying to be more conscious with what I'm choosing to do and try to do that against either things that take the longest for me or that I just are very mundane, slow for me to do. That's the kind of stuff I typically try to automate. I guess what if with someone who's interested in getting into automation, I know you said you look at their business processes and where the money's coming in from, but anybody who's looking to get into automation, where is a good place to, I guess, start identifying that?
Zsofia (05:02): So first try to think about the plan that you want to generate the cash machine, how you get the money, how do you earn it and how can you automate this process? Exactly. To be honest, it's more easy, it's easier or yeah, so less, less crazy if you are having a product based business, because if you are a coach, let's say, of course you can really automate the situation. When you sit down with your clients and coaching that way, of course you cannot automate that part because there's always a human element. But if you have a kind of a business which is less attached to the human element, then you can, you can easily think about how to, how to make it as automated as possible and how to remove yourself, how to reduce the questions from the client, how to make them understand easily, what you said to them and what they really need to know.
Zsofia (05:56): And then you just know, remove yourself from the support thing even. So these kinds of things can be easily. The first thing you need to automate, because that makes the most sense business-wise. Of course, you cannot automate it 100%. Uh, so you still need to do other things you can save time on and yes, you have a right approach. What is mundane boring for you. What takes a long time for you to do. That's usually something you can, you can have a look on automating it. There's also another factor, which means, which is of course the cost of the automation, because either the program you are using cost money, or you need a professional who helps you to do the automation that you really have to calculate on how long I will able to use this automation in your business. And what is the working hours you are saving on it. Is it worth it? And even in the end of the calculation, you might end up thinking that, okay, maybe that's still good for a human work rather than automating it. And then it comes for outsourcing. So that's another option if you still want to get rid of the tasks.
Nick (07:01): Okay. So that sounds like a lot of moving parts, lots going on here is that that is something that you actually help the clients that are coming in and the people who are wanting to automate more of that stuff. You help them through that entire process.
Zsofia (07:15): Yes. I like to look at the process itself. So I like to see the full picture as much as possible. So we do talk a lot with my clients if they have the need for it. Funnily, most of my clients come with a plan. So most of them saying that, Hey, I want to outsource my social media management. Hey, I want this kind of automation in my business. I'm not always going into that challenge, but I, I certainly enjoy when we can have a bird's eye view and have really a process-wise thinking about all their business processes.
Nick (07:46): Right. That's very cool. Has automation always been a huge passion for you? Or how did, how did that all kind of come about?
Zsofia (07:55): Oh, you are really emphasizing automation. I actually like to emphasize that that is both so outsourcing and automation. Um, how did this come about? That's actually, I don't know. It's, it's not an easy story. So I, I have a degree in history which, uh, doesn't really force me to work in business at all. But then I realized in the end of the university that I like to do something which is more businesslike. And I started to study finance. I put really, really hard working, even older age to study finance and I became financial manager and also a tax advisor. So I worked as a tax advisor and then, then working with businesses, I realized how important processes are, um, because, um, because you know, when you are in the situation, you want to solve something, you want the business to go, well, then you end up synchronizing the information, seeing how, how this all works.
Zsofia (08:52): And I think because I have a background in history and different thinking that other people who, who run businesses, then I started to look at it in a different perspective. I can't really put my fingers on how or why, but it seems that I have a little bit different logic on this. And yes, I wanted to, to know more businesses, I guess that was the idea. I didn't want to just, uh, you know, do only on my own or work for one, because that's really, you know, narrow. I wanted to broaden my knowledge and have more connections with people and understand more about the business processes. So that's how I started this.
Nick (09:29): That's great. I mean, that's a great way. Great reason to get into business. So how long have you been running My Processes?
Zsofia (09:37): I think it has been almost a year now.
Nick (09:40): Okay. Wow. Awesome. And about how many clients do you typically get or how many clients do you currently have?
Zsofia (09:45): Currently? I am around a five or six, but there are like coming, going. So there are a lot of project things which are, uh, coming in and that go out. So it's an easier, right now
Nick (09:57): Well, that's really cool. I mean, that's, that's pretty damn successful for just a year. You've got constant flow of people coming in. That's awesome.
Zsofia (10:04): Well, of course I am always thinking about how to make it better and I, uh, I have to, you know, sit down and also prep plan strategically because I of course wanted to be bigger and more powerful. And I see a lot of opportunities. If I can generate more revenue, then I can expand in a lot of ways, which I, my head. Uh, so for example, this Monday, I just blocked every notifications, everything on my phone and bend to the nature and just sit down in the sun and be some strategy planning because I'm so excited about a lot of things that I have a lot of plans to, to get this business in a more advanced level.
Nick (10:40): That's awesome. So has, has 2020 beenn kind of a, I mean, obviously it's been pretty successful. Has it everything going around going on this year kind of impacted what you're doing? Have you seen more people, less people, do you think,
Zsofia (10:54): Oh man, yeah, it's crazy. Right. I'm still kinda shook the from COVID and other things going around. I don't know how we could be doubt. So it has been such a long, short period for me with my processes that I'm not actually sure. How would it look like without COVID. I think people are more willing to outsource and automate because let's be honest, if you want everything to be done by someone in house sitting in the same office with you, then it's not just cost money, but you have to have an office, which you know, we have COVID, so that is a risk and everybody working from home. So I think this situation opened the mind of business owners for outsourcing because yeah, you have someone who is working on a completely remote place somewhere far from the office. So why not just outsource it to someone which is cheaper, but it doesn't necessarily mean that people turn to me instead of having that current employees. I rather see that smaller business saying that, yeah, that's actually a viable solution and not much a than, than having an employee.
Nick (12:00): One thing that I like to do with all of my guests or almost all of my guests is ask them what their super power is and by super power. I mean, what is that one thing that like you are just a rock star at, what would you think your superpower would be?
Zsofia (12:16): Get Things Done.
Zsofia (12:18): Yeah, or I certainly get someone who will
Nick (12:26): That's awesome. Well, cool. Let's dive into, I'm very curious. I'm always been interested in the virtual assistant side of things and something that you obviously have a vast knowledge in. Um, I guess to start, how many virtual assistants do you currently have?
Zsofia (12:43): One, but she's good. Yeah, so we are working on a lot of projects, but I don't count the outsourcers I am working on projects and different kinds of planned stuff as my virtual assistant. So I have one, uh, one assistant who is like really all the business I have and what I do and how I build up and what are the plans and, you know, so on and so forth. And that's very, very important. And it makes me, makes me more comfortable about getting more work, because I know that, that they do not hate me. So I will not be suffocating from, from loads of work because I have someone can instantly have me because she understands how the things are going. So it's not like that. I have to hand over things for someone because, because she's really prepared for any tasks that might come up.
Zsofia (13:35): So it's like a second me. I kind of feel very, very lucky. So I actually know that I'm not just because I understand Virtual assistance. So what I like to think I do, but I think I'm also very, very lucky. So I can't, can't leave out this factor and I'm really grateful for her, but, um, but yeah, with all the other assistants who have my clients who have certain projects or, or, or the other experts, because we are also talking about like high level experts who, who get in touch with me because they, uh, they provide expert support to one of my clients. Yeah. I have a lot of contacts and network of freelancers
Nick (14:17): So just, I guess to recap here, you have one virtual assistant that's basically like your full time assistant and then any other virtual assistants or outsourcing that's kind of on a project by project basis.
Zsofia (14:28): Well, either project by project or, or I go to them if there is a need for, I usually first get the clients, I first open it with the client. And then I start think about who can be the best many times. I already have someone in mind when I talk to a client regarding a specific program.
Nick (14:47): I am curious when you hired your virtual, how difficult was it for you to go from managing everything, yourself to kind of giving up control? I know that's a lot of people that I talked to that have virtual assistants. There's kind of this, like I've been doing this, my process my way, and now I have to allow someone else to do that and be able to trust them with that. Was that something that was difficult for you or did it come pretty easy and naturally?
Zsofia (15:16): I think, if you think about it, it's a 1 to 10 scale. I am rather in the one being very easy, like two or three, but it's because I had this inner, uh, urgency to do that because, because that's my business about, so, you know, and that sounds crazy if I tell everyone to outsource and automate and I don't, so I had to get it to work, of course. Uh, I would say this for me, it was easy, easy to delegate, easier than for some of my clients. I even had once question that if you can outsource, if you have an OCD, if you are really controlling and if you are really, really, uh, a serious about the perfection of your processes, and that's actually something you need to consider when you outsource, because you have to think about what kind of tasks will you outsource, if you outsource something which, you know, perfectly how it needs to be done, and you are a perfectionist, then it's great because you can prepare a perfect training issue and good in preparing the training. If you know how to prepare this training with all the information, then you can basically give a guide to someone who, who can easily follow. So if you find someone who is like good enough to follow guidelines, then if you are a perfectionist, then you have a very good guideline. That kind of sets you up for success? It can work very, very well. I think that's what I sell.
Nick (16:47): I could see myself kind of being very similar in that aspect where it's like, I've been doing stuff for so long and I've been doing it a certain way. And now it's like, okay, I just have to hand over that control and hope that it's right. But yeah, you made a really good point and having the process and the, I guess the plan and strategy in place is a very big piece to that. How do you, or how did you train in your virtual assistant or kind of get her prepared? Did you have like guides or did you get on a Skype or Zoom call with her? Or how did that process kind of work as far as like training in the VA?
Zsofia (17:21): I think I choose a good VA. So again, that was kind of easier, but to, for, for any projects or any tasks I have, I have recorded detailed trainings about the basics, which anybody who comes in contacted me and working with me as an assistant, will get it. So that's pretty cool. So I don't have to sit down each and every time and do that, which is awesome. Of course, yes. Uh, Zoom calls, regular emails. It's good that we have a similar background, so we kind of studied the same. So, uh, I think very similar with my assistant person, but it, if it wasn't like that, then yes. Coaching, coaching, coaching. So keeping in touch with the assistant have a regular time when they can ask from you. That's also important that they feel comfortable with asking because each and every time, if they ask a question and you are like, and all that, then they will stop asking and they start making mistakes.
Zsofia (18:20): So that's, that's a big mistake you can make. Um, so coaching, uh, being in contact trainings, prepared proper guides, give them a good understanding what's your business about what, are your goals, where are you heading. And you said that you are doing always everything in a certain way. That's good. And it's good if you can give a training that day, but it's also important to be open for someone who can challenge this, because maybe if someone looks at, in another way. Starts to do it and maybe find an easier way, a more efficient way, then you need to have an open mind to accept it. So I think a saying that I do, because I always did like it. That's also a very, very good way to, to go to a bad direction and kind of from your business,
Nick (19:06): I completely agree with you there. I know it's difficult to give up that control, but like you just said, there may be a better way to do what you've been doing and you've been doing it for so long. You just kind of tuned out every other possibility. But that's where I kind of like the think tank think tank or group think kind of mentality, where you have other people that may see things differently than you do. And you kind of bring a different perspective into the same task or project, whatever it is. And you could ultimately come up with a way better solution than what you've already got. So I think that's fantastic.
Zsofia (19:40): Letting things go is, is a very, very important skill for an entrepreneur. I think it's like, it's like having a child. So if you have a baby and your business is your baby, and it will be always your baby, but the baby goes to kindergarten, that school, then it will be teenager. And, and, you know, you have to give more and more space for it because as a business owner, it can be a battle in the long run. So you have to give space for your, for your baby, for your business as well. And then it's their normal.
Nick (20:10): Perfect. I love that for anybody who's interested in either automation or outsourcing, what would be, I guess, some good signs that that is a direction you should go.
Zsofia (20:23): Okay. Very, very honestly, even if you start, even if you don't have money at all, or whatever, make sure to leave your accounting and finances, someone who is expert on this, unless you are an accountant or bookkeeper and you can perfectly do it. And that's your passion. Other than that, if you are just a normal human business owner, your accounting and bookkeeping needs to be outsourced. And I think that that's an Omega Shabba thing because the main point of having a business is to make it viable financially wise. And if you just get lost in, in your spendings and no idea how much you are and no idea how much you pay, that's not going to end up well. So accounting is number one and don't look for signs. That's probably need to have, except if you are an expert on that, other than that, yes, please have a look on, on your revenue.
Zsofia (21:16): So if you start to earn money, then you can start to think about outsourcing. If you start to have processes which are working well, if you start or if they are not working well, but you know, the direction, how they should be, then that's also a sign that you can, you can think about at least writing it down if you're not sure. And if you are just thinking about that, maybe in the long run sometime, whatever the best advice I can give to you is to start, write down your processes. So you say that you have something you do always in that way. Perfect. Next time you do it, turn on the recording in your computer, or just open a document and do some print screens and make sure to add everything that, because maybe next week you're gonna go for a holiday or I don't know, break your leg.
Zsofia (21:58): I don't want it. Okay. So bad example. Anything can happen And you might need to ask your best friend or your grandmother or whoever to have you out with a certain task that is urgent. And if you have a good description, then when your grandmother opens the email from you, that she might even go through and do it. And if you have such a training, then that's great because next time you can outsource it or, or automate. So if you have a good description, then it's a very, very good first step to do that. Be aware of your hourly rate. So know how much your hours and then to say that certain tasks, if you can outsource it in a, in a lower, hourly rate than, yes, it works to do that because you can earn more money on that time. If you are working as something you are actually good at, or you can just have a rest or you can block your calendar, go to the nature and have a Monday morning hours just plan the strategy of your business, because that's also important to see the future. And to find time,
Nick (22:57): I've listened to several other entrepreneurs that when they began outsourcing and automating everything, they had to give up doing some of the tasks that they actually do enjoy because they know it's for the betterment of their business. I'm curious, have you ever had clients that have come to you unsure on whether or not it was a right fit for them because they know they need to outsource tasks that they truly enjoy doing themselves, or have you, has that not really happened to you yet?
Zsofia (23:25): It's interesting because if you really do enjoy something, that's usually your core business. That's why you started your business. Yes. Usually those kinds of things are naturally outsourced. I didn't see, that's not an actual example I met, but I've read about a writer who outsource parts of the novel he was writing. So put together the whole complete story, but there were writers who helped him in the process. That's interesting. Right? So, um, you can even do that, but you would think that the writer has to write his own novel, but practically not necessarily the case. So if you really like something, if you spend a night crying for leaving this task, then do this task that's fine.
Nick (24:09): I think it is kind of interesting just because I think of something like the process of the podcast, like if editing the podcast was something that I truly enjoy, which I'm still, uh, I can do without editing the podcast. But if that was the part of the process that I enjoyed, that would be a tough one because it's the most time consuming out of anything. And I know in order for me to really grow my business, I can't be spending time focusing on the editing of the podcast. I should be spending time on getting the interviews and talking on the podcast and promoting the podcast versus a tedious task, like editing your podcast. So I think something like that as a business owner and an entrepreneur, you really have to take a look at where is your time most beneficial. It may be the thing that you enjoy, but are you limiting the growth of your business because of it?
Zsofia (25:01): That's an interesting point because what I saw, I always go from the opposite direction. If you hate something, you're cannot, you cannot not excel in that. So if you're handling it, then probably you will try as many excuses as possible to avoid doing it. So if you hate editing your podcast, then probably that's something you always put in the end. So that's a good indication that you should ask somebody to edit your podcast. But if you do like it, then it means that that's going to be the first thing in the day you start doing it. And if you say that it stops you from growing your business, then what's helps you growing your business? Is it getting someone to interview? So getting the interviews into your show that can be outsourced too. That's kind of lead generation. You can have an assistant who reaches out for interesting people who can, who can be interviewed. If you each and every time scrambling on an email, sending to someone that to know if he or she going to come to my show knows how embarassing in that then leave it to someone else and press enter and send that email and get the person to your show.
Zsofia (26:06): I personally think if you started a business because you want to do something, then do this something.
Nick (26:12): What do you think would be, or I guess when you bring on a client, how do you determine whether automation or outsourcing is the better option for that person? Do you go in that? Does it go, is it from your, I guess, evaluation of that company that you determine like, okay, there's a software solution for that, or there's no software for that. So I'm going to go outsourcing route, or how does that,
Zsofia (26:38): Even if softwares can be bad, but that costs a fortune. So usually my client's case, they don't start to develop their own software for a specific problem because they are not that big business. So I really do like to work with solopreneurs and the smaller teams, like four or five people, because to be honest, that's the situation when there is not too many processes going crazy. This is the situation when things are still in control. Uh, so we've been, that's fine to do when corpses in the, in the closet pouring out, but uh, but if you do then, then, then it's still solvable. So how to decided between automation and outsourcing. Usually that's not such a complicated question. Usually. Uh, if someone would come to me asking for a full time assistant who we are just both post each and every day, an Instagram post, then I would certainly say that, Hey, that's something you need to automate.
Zsofia (27:37): So marketing automation is too obvious, but most of my clients do know that too. So we can look at the cost and usually they, they are already know what they want to automate. And what they want to outsource, there are cases when I have to say that, okay, this is the sound even said to my client, that this is a task that shouldn't be done at all. So that doesn't make any sense. It doesn't generate revenue. When you say that you are going crazy for it, you want to pay someone for doing it and it doesn't go anywhere. So it's just completely unnecessary. It just because you think it's necessary and you haven't been to always doing it. That doesn't mean its. Like paying your taxes that's necessary, but there are tasks in which you can let go and your business will not even notice it. And you just keep doing it. So elimination is the first step that I really, really like to emphasize. First eliminate, if something is really unnecessary, just get rid of it.
Nick (28:30): I like that. So you basically want to simplify as much as you possibly can, which is good practice for everybody. How do you, how do you determine what you want to eliminate? Where do you start? If you're looking, if I'm going to go look at everything that I'm doing with my business, which I know there's probably a ton of stuff I could probably eliminate from my daily to do's, but what would be the first place I would look or do you see a trend with your clients at all?
Zsofia (28:58): You know, what you would look for? I have a guide for it. So I have a big map, which you can go through step by step. It's on my, one of my freebies, which you can ask yourself questions and go through this play at and either arrive either to automate or to outsource or to eliminate. So there are a few questions to have, but every situation is different. Deep down you usually know what's unnecessary. I also have an interview series and that's very honest. I have this interview series and I am, because I'm curious about other businesses. I really enjoyed this interview series and they really enjoy looking for guests, messaging preparing whatsoever. And then somebody books a time for interview. I always send an email for them and they realize that I actually spend a lot of time to write a nice email.
Zsofia (29:48): Even if I had a draft I had to trust, but I was looking for to check the time zone difference. That which time zone, Oh, that's going to be in the middle of the afternoon for them thinking about spending a little time on asking questions and maybe put some personal question in my email. Okay. Again, I spent like half an hour for sending this email, which is like half an hour and it can be automated. So I went to search for a good booking solution and booking automation, which sends emails and create, Oh, I created the Zoom links manually. What am I doing? I perfectly know that the automation can create, so I said to myself that, Oh yeah, they should. But it was a process. Yes. Maybe because I liked it. And I didn't even actually like the email. I just like thinking about, you know, how you be and whatsoever, but that was too long for doing nothing. So I automated it
Nick (30:47): And I will actually put a link in the show notes to this episode. I'll put a link to that guide from your website. And actually I'll just link to your, I saw you had that whole freebie section. I'll just link to that freebie section. You can check out all of the awesome free content that is Zsofia has got out there for you. Do you have any favorite tools or apps or anything out there that you like to use that help automate some of the daily mundane tasks? Like you were just talking about a calendar app or a, an invitation app that you like to use. Do you have any big favorites that the listeners might be able to try out or benefit from?
Zsofia (31:23): I think this kind of tools with everyone can use this calendar booking apps, which Calendly is the most famous about that. But I recently started Meeting Bird, which is also also very useful. I think that can be useful for everybody. Actually, once, once we couldn't turn our heads around with a few friends of mine went to go out and I sent it created an event in Calendly and sent to them. So it's not even for business. This makes so much sense to avoid these back and forth emails, Facebook messages whatsoever. Is this good for you? No, it's not because, okay. Just go and say which choice is good for you. And that's very easy and I like easy solution if it wasn't obvious yet, I really like simplify things. So I think that's a good simplification. You should have marketing automation. Everybody should have marketing automation. So you can't be on the top of your game if you spend half of your day just posting something on Facebook or Instagram,
Nick (32:26): Do you use any specific apps for scheduling out social media posts or any of that stuff? Or do you typically outsource that? Or what is your process look like?
Zsofia (32:34): I use Later and then you can use it. And another thing I have to think about good that you asked that I still don't outsource the content creation of Instagram. I still need because I like Canva. Oh, Canva is great. It's just a great program to design and prepare things. And I'm always happy about it. I can go create something
Nick (32:59): Canva is one that I just recently switched to. I was using Adobe spark and I like it. But after using Canva, I was like, wow, this is way too easy.
Zsofia (33:09): All right. Well that's my same is if you go, there is a statement of work template. If you want to outsource a task, if you want to hire a virtual assistant or have a social media manager or anything, you can just go to this template, you can open it and you can tailor made it for yourself. So there are the main points you have to go through. So please, don't forget to agree on the price, the timeframe, the communication. So all of these points, you need to go over. So you cannot get lost, but you can change the picture, phones, whatever you want to change for your brand, then you can make it, you know, really, really personal one. And that's the template and they're so good.
Nick (33:45): You just drop it right into Canva and you're good to go. That's awesome. Calendly was another one that I recently started using. Right when I started the podcast, I was trying to book interviews and I was doing the, like you said, the back and forth, like, okay, does this time work for you? Does this time work for me? Okay. Let's make it work. And randomly, someone asked me if I had like a schedule or a calendar link. And I was like, no, that's a thing? I was like quick Google, like, try to find something. Calendly was the first one that popped up. And it blew my mind. I love that app.
Zsofia (34:17): Oh, and there are so many more. So the biggest limitation of Calendly, if you don't want to pay for it. So if you want to use the free version that it can have only one meeting and it only integrates with Zoom if you pay for it. So if you pay the montly fee. I found the Meeting Bird, but I have to check it there on the site. Remember the name? It's not too famous, but actually it can have more. So you can have unlimited number of meetings. So you can put your interviews, your consultation, your, I don't know, coffee breaks, whatever you want. So as many as you want, it automatically integrates with Zoom. So that's also the only thing you have to pay for if you want to have it branded. So if you want to in that or your branding, then you have to pay for it. But other than that, that's also crazy good too. And it works in the same way as Calendly. It doesn't have the opportunity to apply the times for specific days. So you have to, you have to add either one by one or other recurring weekly, we think, and thinking about to make a video, to show how this works. Because first it looks a bit more complicated than Calendly, but in the end of the day, I think it's works to go through and use that one. Especially if you don't want to pay too much.
Nick (35:33): I'll have to give that one a look. Cause yeah, I've been actually with my Calendly. I've been switching up my link every time I talk with someone, I'll switch up the link and switch up everything and get set up for that one person and then send it off. But if they don't book then, and someone else like reschedules or something, it screws up their link to the podcasting app. And then it's a, it's a mess to keep everything straight. So far. It's only happened one time, which I don't know how,
Zsofia (36:01): Okay, let me show you this one. If you have time later, because um, much easier and it even goes to your Google calendar. So even if you have dentist appointment, then that's fine. So it's really integrated. That's cool.
Nick (36:16): Perfect. Okay. And I will put all the links to these, just like the guides and the freebies that Zsofia's got. I will put the links to all these apps that we were talking about in the show notes as well. So if you guys are interested, go check them out there. Okay. Now we're getting pretty close to the end of the episode. So far, I have really enjoyed where we're going with all this. What would be some final tips or words of wisdom for the listeners, if they're interested in automation or outsourcing, what would be some, I guess, final words of wisdom you'd leave with these people.
Zsofia (36:49): Start to write down your processes. What I just told you. So if you have something you do and you can easily do make the print screens. And especially if you do it like once a month or two months, three months, because each and every time you start to do it again, like you did it one months ago, you have to do it again. Then you have to think about it. Where did I save the password? Or how was it, where did I pick up? There was a quick guide, I don't remember how you can even save it for yourself. If you have it written down next time you'll have to do it. You just open the file and go through the print screens. And there will be the login details where to pick and what was the trick and whatsoever. So it's good for you and will be good. Very good for your assistant when you outsource.
Nick (37:29): Perfect. That is actually something that I started doing not too long ago. And I actually do it in Trello, which for the whole podcast, like from recording to editing all that stuff, I have the process kind of built out in Trello and it's actually saved me a couple of times because I have a lot that goes into it and I'll come back to my process and be like, Oh shoot, I forgot to do that. Better go like, make that image or go do this. So it's, I really think there is something that can be said for writing down the process, even if it is like something that you've got down, pat, like you said, you, if it is a process that you end up wanting to outsource, you have that template basically right there that you can give that VA or the person you hire in or however that works.
Zsofia (38:11): That's like 80% of your training basically.
Nick (38:13): Yeah. That's beautiful. Okay. Finally, where can people find you, uh, any social media or website links or where would you like people to reach out to you if they're interested in automation, outsourcing, or maybe they just want to chat.
Zsofia (38:29): I would Love to connect. Certainly, uh, I have Instagram, @MyProcesses. That's how you can find me there. And that's my main platform I think, and I'm running my interview series on YouTube and I'm about to launch a new series, which will be about how to outsource and automate. So I will, I will share the videos and the ideas about the, if you want to outsource tasks, how to start and what you have to consider a lot of topics in mind. So for example, I like to include this calendar automation as well. So these kinds of things you can expect from me, and that's also called My Processes on YouTube and I have Facebook as well. I have LinedIn too so I can send you all the links so you can put it on there in the video.
Nick (39:10): That'll be perfect. I will throw all of that on my show notes. And the show notes for this episode, I believe are going to be ninefivepodcasts.com/episode12. If that's not right, I will delete that out of it. And I'll do it again later. Hopefully that one is right. I'm getting them all confused now. But anyways, Zsofia, I really appreciate you coming on the show and talking about automation and outsourcing. I think there's something that the listeners will get a lot of value out of, even if you're not quite ready for that yet. Hopefully any listeners that we have here will be looking to outsource very soon. So thank you for coming on.
Zsofia (39:52): Thank you. I really enjoyed our conversation. Thanks a lot.
Nick (39:55): Okay. That was the interview with Zsofia. Hopefully you were able to take away some valuable information, whether that's helping you determine if you should start looking to automate or outsource, or maybe even just give you a few ideas of some awesome tools to look into that can help free up some of your time. Now don't forget to check out the free resources on Zsofia's website, myprocesses.es And go say hi to Zsofia on Instagram. Her handle is @myprocesses. I will put all the links to discussed in this episode, as well as the links to Zsofia's, freebies, YouTube channel and Instagram page, so that you can go check out all the right content. She has all that is going to be in the show notes. So you can find the show notes over at ninefivepodcasts.com/episode12. That's right. I got it right when I mentioned it earlier in the episode and just don't forget nine five.
Nick (40:45): It was all spelled out that's N I N E F I V E podcast.com forward slash episode 12 and that is the number 12 and also kind of fitting. If you are on my email list, you most likely received an email this past week talking about my top five favorite apps that will help increase your productivity. These are apps that I personally use and they've helped save me a ton of time. So I will put a link to all these apps in the show notes as well. So make sure you go check those out. And finally, I created a free workbook for anyone out there that is looking to take on a new project. Um, oftentimes it can be tough to even think about tackling a new project, much less following through on them when it can be, we can be all over the place or working a nine to five job while trying to work on our side hustle.
Nick (41:33): So this workbook will help you identify which projects or tasks are most important to you. And it will also walk you through setting up a game plan to succeed in crush those goals. The workbook is called Increase Productivity and Get More Done and it's free up on Gumroad right now, if you want to go grab it, or if you just head over to the show notes, you can snag a copy of it there as well. Thanks for sticking around with me and listening this week. Next week, we are getting into a topic I've been taking very seriously lately and that is email marketing. So make sure you check back in next week. So you don't miss that episode until then I will catch you guys later.
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Automation or Outsourcing?
Which one is right for you?
Depending on where you are in your business, you may be looking to outsource or automate some of the tedious, difficult, or time-consuming tasks to help free up your time. That is what Zsofia is here to talk about today.
Zsofia runs her own business, My Processes, where she helps small businesses and entrepreneurs start to either automate their tasks or start outsourcing some of their projects (or both!).
The first step in the whole process is to identify where you are making your money to see if either of these options would make sense for you and your business.
Note: I did include several resources at the bottom of the show notes (both free and paid) that can help increase your productivity and hopefully save you a little bit of time. So don’t miss out on those!
There are many tasks out there that you may be doing manually that can be automated. Depending on your budget, there are many different free and paid options you can turn to that can free up more of your time.
Having said that, you can definitely overwhelm yourself with all the options out there (trust me, I’ve learned this from experience). This is why identifying where there are opportunities is one of the first steps in the process.
In this episode, Zsofia shares an example of how she took a task that would normally take her 30 minutes to complete, and completely automated it.
There are a lot of great tools out there, but sometimes you just need that human touch. There are many tasks and projects in which you can’t rely on software and instead need to hire employees or virtual assistants to help out. This is something Zsofia is very knowledgeable about.
Zsofia has her own virtual assistant and has for quite a while. In addition to her full-time assistant, Zsofia also looks to her large network of freelancers and VAs for outsourcing various tasks based on her and her clients’ needs.
When it comes to outsourcing tasks, one of the most important topics Zsofia touches on is documenting your processes. Even if you aren’t quite ready to hire an assistant, documenting your recurring processes is great practice for you (in case you need to come back to a certain later) and even better when you are ready to hire an assistant. With the processes already documented, it can be very easy to hand off that process to your future freelancer or VA that you bring on.
Make sure you listen to the full episode and don’t forget to check out Zsofia’s interviews and freebies. You can find all the links below.
Links & Resources
Note: Some of the links listed below may be affiliate links. This means I will receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you choose to purchase through them.
- Follow Zsofia on Instagram: @myprocesses
- Subscribe to Zsofia’s channel on YouTube to hear all of her great interviews
- Freebies from Zsofia
- If you need a new scheduling or booking app, both Calendly and MeetingBird might be options you would like to look into
- If you are on social media (especially Instagram) Later is a great option that Zsofia mentions for social media management – I have had experience with this in the past and actually really enjoyed it
- If you are looking to start writing down and tracking processes, Trello is an excellent option that I personally use – this is also a great tool for onboarding outside resources
- Canva has been a reoccurring tool that is mentioned on this podcast
- If you haven’t done this already, you can leave a review of the Nine-Five Podcast over on iTunes
Top 5 Apps for Increasing Productivity
If you are on my email list, you may have already seen these. As promised, here are 5 of my favorite apps that help free up my time so I can get more done.
My Favorite Note-Taking App: Microsoft OneNote
I have been using OneNote for quite a while now. I have tried others like Evernote and Google Keep, but nothing really suited quite as well as OneNote. I like to use a stylus (I have a Galaxy Note 20) and the S-Pen works pretty well with OneNote (good enough to keep me coming back). I also really like the ability to create separate “Notebooks” and “Sections” which I know isn’t unique to only OneNote, but I have grown accustomed to it.
With OneNote, I keep track of virtually ALL my notes, thoughts, ideas, podcast show notes, etc. And I can conveniently access them all on any device.
My Favorite Design App for Social Media: Canva & Adobe Spark
Okay, this one was a little complicated so you get a bonus 6th app. Both are fantastic apps and I actually use them for different design tasks that I’m working on.
Canva: If I am going to create multi-page documents, posts, slides, etc I like to use Canva (Canva is also great for creating Lead Magnets – this is actually what I used to create the Productivity Workbook you downloaded). They have a really large selection of templates to choose from which make designing extremely simple.
Adobe Spark: When it comes to designing me podcast and blog post “Featured Images” I really like to use Adobe Spark. I have also found that mass-producing Pins for Pinterest is really simple with Adobe Spark as well (you can hear about how I am able to create over 100 pins in less than 20 minutes using Adobe Spark on Episode 11 of the Nine-Five Podcast)
I used to do all my graphic designs and editing from scratch with Adobe Illustrator, so these apps have saved me a TON of time.
My Favorite Tool for Creating Audiograms (Audio-Videos): Headliner
Headliner is a lifesaver for me. For anyone out there who has a podcast or creates video content, Headliner might be right up your alley. With Headliner, you can use your own templates that you upload or choose from a limited list of pre-made templates to use to turn my podcast into small videos for sharing on social media. With Headliner you can add in things like animated waveforms, text overlays, and Headliner can even transcribe your videos and audio files for you! Headliner is free to use and you get up to 10 exports from Headliner per month before they start putting their watermark on the videos.
If you do video or audio at all, you should at least check Headliner out.
My Favorite Tool for Tracking Projects: Trello
Tracking projects, to-dos, and process can often times require many apps. Then add a team of people trying to work together and the whole process becomes increasingly difficult. This is why I have turned to Trello. At this time, I do all the recording, editing, graphics, social media scheduling, etc for the Nine-Five Podcast. Because there are so many things I need to remember to do with each episode, I track the entire process in Trello.
I create a list of to-dos for each episode and I simply drag that episode along through the process. For example: Schedule to Record, Post-Processing, Scheduled, Published.
Then beyond tracking processes for yourself, if you have a team of people, Trello makes it really easy to assign specific tasks to different members of your team. This gives you and the rest of your team visibility and awareness around the progress of different projects.
With everything that I have to remember when it comes to putting together a podcast episode, Trello has saved me on more than one occasion.
My Favorite Tool for Planning Social Media: Lately
Not only is this my favorite tool for social media marketing, this may be my favorite tool of all time!
Lately uses AI to take the content that you are already creating and turns that content into MANY social media posts for you to share across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.
If you create blog posts: Simply paste the link to your blog post in Lately, and then Lately will automatically sift through your blog post and pull out small shareable pieces for your to schedule. For reference, with every blog post I write, Lately creates about 50 social media posts for me.
If you create podcast/audio content: Upload your audio file. Lately will then transcribe that audio. Now, Lately will run through a similar process to develop social media posts based on the transcript of your audio file. For reference, with every podcast episode I upload (approx. 1 hour per episode), Lately creates around 250 social media posts!
If you create video content: Upload your video file. Lately will transcribe the video, just like with your audio file. This time, instead of simply breaking up the text from your transcript, Lately will actually clip he video you uploaded and match it to the text in the individual social media post. Now, you don’t have to manually find and clip out various sections of your videos to share on social media.
Pro Tip: I use Lately in conjunction with Headliner and it works great! First, I will run my entire podcast episode through Headliner to make a simple, yet classy video of the entire podcast. Next, I upload that video to Lately and let their AI do it’s magic.
I hope you enjoyed this episode of the Nine-Five Podcast. Thank you so much for listening!
If you enjoyed this episode, please head over to iTunes and leave a review. Your reviews are what help get this podcast in front of more people!
Have you started outsourcing or automating the tasks/projects in your business?
Let me know in the comments below!
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