expert interviews May 19, 2022

Of all the different technologies used today, automation is increasingly becoming a common element of modern business. You probably have an idea what it is since it’s been a buzzword for the last decade. Automation isn’t just about reducing the time and effort you spend sending out emails and invoices. There are a variety of ways Ergonomic Consultants can benefit from adopting automation. 

How can it help you, you ask? Well, client management and workflow consultant, Elizabeth Coopersmith, will explain just that. Elizabeth helps in demand, overwhelmed, underslept, and scrambling entrepreneurs to put in place systems and processes that work so that they can focus on generating revenue. 

In this post, Elizabeth will reveal to us the importance of automation and break down some examples of how you can take your consulting business to the next level using automation. She even goes so far as to put together an amazing download for you that’ll show you the first 10 steps you need to take when automating your business.

Here are a few of the highlights from our conversation:

One of the big things that connected us is that you have an interesting way of providing value to business owners, and that’s by helping them to automate their business workflow and tweak their websites. How did you get your start in this field?

EC: Well, it's somewhat of a long story. I was—and still am—a wedding planner for 15-plus years, and I got into this just trying to manage my own business. Before I was into wedding planning, I was a product manager and a website designer. So when it comes to managing my business, I always look for the best online solutions to do that. I was in business for 6-7 years when HoneyBook discovered me. HoneyBook is a client relationship management system. What happened is that they’re reaching out to all the wedding planners in the local area, saying, “Hey, do you want to try this new website? It'll help you send out contracts and manage your time.” So I jumped on it, and that's where my love for HoneyBook and all things automation started. 

What I understand is that the tool is something that can be used. And if you don't have the strategy or the expertise, it's possibly collecting dust on your shelf. Is that a good analogy?

EC: Yes, it is. I’ve worked with a lot of CRMs like HoneyBook, Dubsado, Tave, and 17Hats—these are all systems that small business entrepreneurs can use. And a lot of the people that I work with are in that position, where they’ve signed up for a CRM and are paying for this software and not using it because it seems like taking that next step can be a little daunting. There's that leap from, “Oh, no, this is a system where I'm sending out invoices manually, sending out contracts manually. How am I going to change my system to use this CRM?” 

What they’re not realizing is that it's basically the same thing that you're doing. You're sending out your contract. You're sending out your invoices. The only difference is you don't have to follow up on them. You don't have to worry if they've been sent or if they've been read because everything is automatic. Every part of your business process can be automated, which can save you a ton of time. 

You can also make some significant money on the back end too because you don't have to always follow up to see if emails have been read or if invoices have been paid. It pops up and tells you when it's been read. It tells you when it's been signed. It tells you when it’s been paid. And then you can just go from there. So it just gives you a lot of freedom just to build your perfect business process.

What’s the first thing people should automate?

EC: The first place that you should start is setting up a virtual calendar. It can be through a system like HoneyBook or Dubsado, or even through Calendly. If you have one central calendar where you keep all your stuff, what HoneyBook is going to do is just pull from that and decide on what times you're available, and those are the only things that they're going to offer your clients. Organizing your calendar is one of the things that every entrepreneur needs to do. You can simply send your clients a link to your calendar. Then they can choose which times they’re free to meet you. By doing that, you’ve basically eliminated seven emails. Automating your scheduling will save you a lot of stress. 

Can you tell us more about CRM and why you chose HoneyBook?

EC: Technically speaking, and this is the truth, I chose HoneyBook because they gave it to me for free. But over the years, HoneyBook has also grown. 

HoneyBook benefits:

  • HoneyBook has a nice and relatively simple interface. It’s easy to use and easy to understand. 
  • HoneyBook has what's called a proposal, which combines your contract and your invoice into one online form. So all you have to do is put that together and send it to your client.  They can sign it and then pay you.
  • They also have brochures or templates where you can put in your own branding and your own wording, and you could send those to your clients as well. 
  • HoneyBook is also one of the few CRMs that have an app. So you can get notices on your phone, and you can work on your account off of your phone. That’s something that other CRMs don’t have. 
  • It also has a Gmail extension. So if somebody emails you, you can pull their information into HoneyBook and talk to them through there. 

Once you try HoneyBook, it’s literally a game changer. The only thing that I was using it for was contracts, invoices, and calendar. And it’s a game changer in and of itself. So I've stuck to it and just basically decided to become a pro with it. 

I also want to highlight the fact that you’re not doing anything different here. This is not a new car, just new tires. It's not a new thing. You're also sending contracts, sending invoices, scheduling with people, and following up. It's just that the way you have to set it up to be automatic is different. 

But then again, there’s a question of what CRM you should use. And it really is a matter of choice. What I want you to do is to be able to manage your business. I want you to be able to do the scheduling, do the automations, and take all the things you're not good at off of your plate. The important thing is that your business will be around in five years. In order to do that, you've got to take care of the admin. You can’t run a business without invoicing clients, without sending emails, and being able to follow up on these emails quickly and easily. You're not gonna be able to do business if you can't respond to your inquiries. These are all things that are a permanent part of running a business. And you can't focus on your zone of genius in your business without taking care of those things. You just can't. You'll be great doing your work, but your business will suffer. So why not create a system where these things are taken care of?

For people who are looking to jump into automation, what are some factors that people should consider?

EC:  There are a couple of things that you do have to think about. First, you have to be aware that you’re going to have to manage your time. Be clear about what you're using your time for. Secondly, when you’re talking about setting up automation, you also have to think about the whole garbage in, garbage out thing. This means that you have to actually put in the correct automations in order to get the correct outcome. 

So yes, there's an accountability part of this where you need to be very clear about how you want things to run and what it is that you want. Because if you put in the wrong information, you’re going to get the wrong effect. So that’s something you need to be careful about because HoneyBook and other CRMs run off of you and what you want.

And there you have it! Whether you’re just starting your own consulting business or you’ve been doing it for quite a while, automation is a great way to streamline your workflow and drive business growth. What are your thoughts on automation? What tasks do you want to automate? 

Grab the freebie here and go get started automating your business. If you have any questions for Elizabeth, you can visit her website to get in touch with her.

Another thing: If you want to grow and scale your consulting business, then look no further than Accelerate. The Accelerate program has all the tools and resources you need to achieve your goals. This includes a Masterclass, where experts like Elizabeth share their knowledge and tips. I’ll be opening the enrollment at the end of June 2022.  So if you’re interested, just click here to join the waitlist now.


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