Automation & Systems for Creatives Entrepreneurs - Save Stress & Time Each Week! | Ashlee Geheb | Skillshare

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Automation & Systems for Creatives Entrepreneurs - Save Stress & Time Each Week!

teacher avatar Ashlee Geheb, Entrepreneurship Educator for Creatives

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

5 Lessons (31m)
    • 1. Class Trailer & Intro

    • 2. Step 1: Investigate

    • 3. Step 2: Evaluate

    • 4. Step 3: Automate

    • 5. Your Project!

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About This Class

In this class we'll be talking about 3 steps entrepreneurs or freelancers should take if they're stressed and overwhelmed in their businesses before you actually go hire an intern, virtual assistant or employee! I learned this lesson the hard way - and it cost me hundreds of dollars and hundreds of hours LOST to actually growing my business! Don't make the same mistakes I did...and you may even find out through this classes steps that you don't even need a virtual assistant yet!

Meet Your Teacher

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Ashlee Geheb

Entrepreneurship Educator for Creatives


I want to live in a world where entrepreneurship is simplified and possible for anyone! Because even if you love your job, a side hustle with extra income is just smart in this day and age!


That's why my classes are short, sweet and perfect for both full-time entrepreneurs and freelancers and side-hustlers too! 


I teach classes on Simplifying Entrepreneurship, creating an awesome Etsy Shop, Becoming a Virtual Assistant and more! 

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1. Class Trailer & Intro: Hi. Welcome to this skill share class. This class was designed for the entrepreneur freelancer that feels stressed or overwhelmed with all the stuff they have going on. Trust me, you're not alone. I know there's a lot to do every day, but keeping and design and branding and client meetings and grow your email list and all that stuff. Most people would tell you to go out for some things, Yea, or an intern or something like that. And those things are great. Don't me wrong. They really are. But years ago, when I took that advice, I just jumped in with both feet and I was not very organized and actually ended up costing me hundreds of dollars and dozens of hours and so much more stress. Then if I had these three simple steps I'm teaching in this class to do beforehand, I wish I had had these. What we're really gonna do in this class is go over a few simple things you can do to get organized and make sure spending your time on the right things in your business and make sure there's things that are automated properly. So you're not hiring someone to do stuff that could be done by or you're not hiring someone to do something in your business. It doesn't actually make a difference long term. So your stress and overwhelms come join this class clicking role. And I challenge you to also invite another friend who's also stressed and overwhelmed so that you guys can do it together and create a little like mastermind going through it, which would be really helpful. I'll see you in the class. 2. Step 1: Investigate: Hey, guys, welcome to the class. So in this video, we're gonna go over the first step. Um and these are the steps and I So wish I had had before I just jumped in with both feet and hired my first be a three years ago. I wasted so much time, So much money, so much energy because I didn't really get organized before. And so that's what this glasses about. And the first class we're gonna talk about investigating our time, and I'll show you some of my favorite resource is for that and a little bit off. Why, um, in their second video next video, we're gonna talk about evaluating, um, we're gonna be just evaluate where our time was spent. And if he took my simplifying entrepreneurship class, we talked a lot about game changers in our business. The things that really, really move the needle, Um, because it's super important. So in the third class, we're gonna talk about automation. And if there's one thing that I could say is the most important, it's this step. Um, just so of its only clients and students over the years that have actually realizing didn't quite need an assistant yet or Internet or something like that, because they could go through these steps and cut out what wasn't working and actually automate some stuff. So, you know, they might normally spend five and 10 hours a week on marketing, and now they're only spending one hour a week because they used some simple APS, some simple settings within Facebook and stuff like that to automate stuff. So, you know, that's a huge time savings, and you're saving yourself hundreds of dollars worth there by not needing a via yet. So let's get to it. So investigator time kind of like to base things around 80 20 rule. Sometimes it's gonna be a buzzword in the online business world, but it really does matter. So this was designed if you don't know much about it. Um, this economist, I think the whole story Waas He was in his garden one day or someone else's garden, and he realized that 20% of the plants were growing about 80% of the produce, so in effect, what he suggests in a business sense, this is kind of analogy, but cut out your you know, if you have 10 people cut out eight of them that aren't producing very well and focus on the two that are producing 80% of your fruits. Give them, um, the majority of your water, which you know might be a scarce resource in many parts of the world. Your fertilizer, which can be expensive and all of that stuff. So you're effectively getting even mawr, you know, peas or fruit or vegetables from two plants. But utilizing less of your resource is less of your time, less of your energy, etcetera. So that's kind of the point. And we're just gonna get a brief overview of how we spend our time over the course of a couple of work days, maybe one or two weeks if you want to get a good sketch of where time is going and what we can cut in the next step. Um, look, I said, this is really important because I didn't do these stuff at first and I was having my V A and even my intern later on down the road do stuff that didn't matter. They were doing just everyday tasks that didn't actually create much value, and I was wasting so much time energy and money Having suffered didn't matter. So we're gonna investigator time And this is one of my favorite resource is It's an iPhone app and a Web app. So I just kind of come in and color code things. I'll give marketing its own color and I'll check in, check out when I'm doing stuff. Um, no teaching webinar skill share will get its own color, and I'll just give a rough sketch of what I was doing. So I like to use this app. Probably at first I use it for a solid probably week and 1/2 or two weeks of work. And then I used it now about 2 to 3 work days every quarter so that I can go in and evaluate how things are working. Small point to note is try to do it on a very average workday like don't necessarily do it the day you know, start to investigate your time the day you get back from vacation or like, me right now, investigating my time this week might not be very wise because we just got a puppy. So, you know, kind of having to take breaks for her. Um, you know it's not my average week, so it might kind of skew what you're finding, but this is a really great tool to use, and then these are gonna be in the resource is with some other APS and stuff that you can use as well. Um, I love good old pen and paper. I started doing this on pen and paper, so there's gonna be a pdf download of this. I love to use that because I can use different colors. Sharpies and I can use highlighters. And, you know, it could be a little bit faster sometimes. Um, And then there's also an Excel or Google doc version, which again you can even create your own system with, you know, maybe billable hours. Aaron Bold and may be times when you're working in admin settings, marketing your business or whatever. They're in italics. Certain types of business work can be highlighted in a different color than others, etcetera. So you can kind of create your own system using just having another tab open of Google docks every day, and you just check in a couple times a day, estimate where you were. That works really well for me. to. Sometimes I'll use that instead of ours because it can be a little bit faster if you want. Lastly, one of my favorite APS and this I use pretty constantly, Um, and this I use. I'll check in about once a month and do kind of a mini evaluation of my time, so I'll just show you the interface real quick. This is a weekly dashboard. You can also do daily. So this is a free app. Um, and it was right here. It's it's right here on my computer and like today, I haven't done much. So we'll go to yesterday and you can go in and what I have to do. But once a month is, go in and make sure that it's categorizing the websites correctly. Like for me, it normally has Facebook as very distracting in red, because obviously it's social media. So I leave Pinterest as red because typically that's not something really business e. But for me, I want Facebook a lot doing client messages, and I have a lot of student groups on Facebook group, so I am in there a lot, and it's actually I have it as productive. So it's very good, and you can set up goals. Um, you can set up alerts. They'll send you like a kind of a weekly overview. You can even upgrade to Premium, and they'll block certain websites, which might be good if you realize and stuff to you. Evaluate your time and you seem to always be getting distracted. Right after lunch. He'll sit down at your computer and start reading a blawg or catching up on the news or Pinterest or something like that. So maybe you'll start blocking those websites for half an hour, and then you get to take a break or something like that, so operating a premium might be worth it for you. But it's free, and it's a great thing to try for a few weeks and see if it helps. You better manage your time and better evaluate where your time is going. So I love this app, and I highly recommend it on Ben, the other ones as well. It's really important to know where your time is going and to make sure that we're adding value by outsourcing. We want our our ally to be really, really high on this, so I'll see you in the second video to evaluate where our time is going 3. Step 2: Evaluate: Hey, guys, welcome to Step Two. Um, for this it's really about seeing where time is going, where energy is going, where your money is going because we want to focus on the game changers. As I said in the simplifying entrepreneurship class, the things that really make a difference, the products or services or activities that build the business. We really want to have the things that are sustainable because I want you all to help avoid burnout. I've definitely had run ins with burnout over the years, and it sucks because it's when a lot of people quit and entrepreneurship can be so great. We really want to avoid that if we can. And I wish someone had sat me down a few years ago and told me to start asking these questions and asking them fairly often so that I know I'm building the right business in the right way so that I can avoid burnout and build a sustainable business. So we definitely want to look at where's the income coming from? What things are bringing in the most income. You know, you can even write each one down and write down income they're bringing in every month or every year. Maybe a percentage. Uh, which products or which services are bringing in a majority of the, you know, kind of pie of your income, if you will, and then marketing efforts. Look at your analytics. Look at your stats on your social media pages. Um, what activities? Air bringing the most subscribers or the most traffic. You want to look at the numbers hands down. Numbers don't lie. Numbers are very important in business. But you also want to ask what's really working? Is this really working for me? Is this product really working for me? Is this service really working for me? Maybe you are a Web designer and you know the majority of her income comes for from doing people's websites. You know, from scratch. That's great. But maybe in the future you want to have more time to travel and maybe live overseas. So you know that's where the bulk of your stuff is coming from. Now that's great. But when you evaluate it, you can kind of see it's not exactly the business I want to build. So let's start spending a little bit more time on another income stream or several income streams to kind of move that piece of the pie down and have others filling. So it's stuff like that. Like, are these marketing efforts really working? Um, are they getting me the number of subscribers I need and want to build my business where I want to go Stuff like that. So you really want Teoh ask, Is it really working in more of, ah, look, emotional time? Energy sense, Not just numbers. Numbers are important, but you want to make sure you're beating burnout and really building the business you really want. That's important. I don't want anyone to quit. I don't want anyone have burnout, so we're gonna try to avoid that. And lastly, especially once you get some time data down, um, I have even more questions in a workbook. In the resource is that can help you even further. You don't need to go in super detail if you don't want to. These three questions will pretty much suffice, and they'll really give you a great overview every few months of where you're going. But if you want some more questions, they're there for you and can be really valuable, so I'll see you in video. Three 4. Step 3: Automate: welcome to Video three. And I just have to say this one more time. Just make sure we're doing stuff that is actually worthwhile. So we're gonna talk about automation because we want to make sure we're not asking someone to do something that can be done with a nap or something else. So first things first. Check your social media settings. Just learned about this a few months ago, but it's made a huge difference. Instagram, if you use it. And a lot of them have similar setting. So don't be worried if you don't use instagram, but you just set up your other profiles. Just kind of authorize it through the APP. It takes 30 seconds and you can have it automatically sent. And this has worked so well for me, especially for Instagram to my Facebook page. My instagram posts on my Facebook page get at least double engagement and views than my other Facebook post that I put automatically through Facebook or through buffer. Huge difference and also a huge difference in my photo editing time in light room when I learned shortcuts, Sophie's Adobe APS or even like a Mac book or something, a lot of things have shortcuts, a lot of APS and stuff, and that can really cut down on some time. It really works for me for light room. I probably cut down my editing time by about 25% which is a pretty big deal. That's a lot of time per month that I can then use to work on another project. Another thing is email marketing software. If you don't use it already, I highly recommend you look into it for any type of business, really. But they all I've never met one that didn't have this feature of an RSS feed. So taking your blawg and automatically sending it to your email subscribers. And I love, love, love this feature. It saved me so much time I'm gonna go in and manually do it every week. When I said it a blawg or just having my email list, hear crickets until you know I have a launch or something in that it doesn't usually work very well because they haven't seen me in their in box for weeks. And they're like, Who are you and why are you telling me something? So all the time I spend on My really like valuable blood post can now go straight to them. They get the email and I actually get a lot of people were applying from them saying that you know, they love that feature and they want to learn how to use it so really, really worthwhile. Another thing is female if used email. There's a lot of extensions. Um, my favorites are boomerang because you can almost like use it as a reminder feature. So I will forward myself an email at a later date to remind myself to sign up for this class or, you know, book a session or work on this project. It also works. Remind other people works really great. Graham Early is actually just a chrome extension or Firefox or whatever, but it will just help you communicate more effectively. It's kind of like auto correct or spellcheck, but it goes way deeper than that's kind of like on steroids. Um, it's not necessarily gonna save you time or money, but if it's helping you be a better communicator, like writing a new email pitch to a potential client or running a sales page on your website, if it helps you to have better grammar, better spelling, even stuff of word choice. It can do a lot of kind of word choice suggestions or sentence structure suggestions. And if that helps you book some more clients or sell some more stuff, that's totally a worthwhile use of space on your computer. On my new favorite, which I just found is assistant dot to, um, I was spending a lot, a lot, a lot of time in my in box years ago, and a lot of it was back and forth like, Hey, when do you want to meet? Um, you know, clients or students. When do you want to have your call getting interviewed on a podcast or something? Someone will be back and forth and back and forth. You know at least half a dozen emails. Can you meet next Monday? Can we talk on Tuesday? All that stuff and this is really just simple Plug in. It's not the bottom of your kind of message screen, and you can just click it and be like, Oh, here's my Google calendar. It integrates with that and says, I have Tuesday at three or Monday at one. Do those work for you so it really cuts down on back and forth email, which drove me nuts. And it's seriously like, seriously save me so much time, Other fun things. So, um, I included these logos right here. These three. Emma, right? Because finances are super important in business of your freelancer or blogger or tumblr or whatever. It's important, so having some sort of app, a lot of these air paid, but they are well worth it because tax season is really annoying, right? And it's extra annoying when you're self employed. So having these things automate your expenses, your income and all of that really makes a huge difference. I usually do my own taxes, and it takes me less than three hours. And it's so much less of a headache because I can just have my pay pal on a all my other APS go right into, um, these APS. I've also I've used all of them at different times, Um, and totally worth it. You know, PayPal can go through your business accounts, your bank accounts, all that stuff, and you just have to go in every once in a while and make sure things are categorised correctly. Just check in. I probably spend now 20 minutes a month on bookkeeping. Maybe 30 Um, a kind of bad month, A disorganized month. And it saves me so much time and definitely money, because I'm making sure things are accurate. I'm making sure I'm not getting charged extra for some app. I'm making sure that I'm not getting overcharged or that a client has paid yet or something like that. It works so well, highly recommend those. My other favorite thing that I am suggesting is ever out and you might already use ever know, Um and I'm not an expert in it, by any means. But my favorite thing that also saves me a ton of time on email every month is Evernote, And it's because every ever known account has a personalized email. So you can kind of email yourself notes and tag them in all that something. Organize them. I use this already much just for newsletters, for shops like Amazon, Meal of the Day and group on and all that stuff. So I have them go to my Evernote. They get, you know, filed away. I tagged them etcetera. So when I'm looking for a deal looking to book a last minute vacation or, you know, by someone something. All of my stuff is right there. All the coupon codes are right there. They're tagged that organized. It takes me maybe five minutes a week to go through this. And if there's anything I actually need or want super simple, super easy. And it saved me so much time. I don't open my inbox anymore and see 100 messages every morning. And that used to literally be the case. I would spend at least an hour day in my inbox, and I no longer do that. I probably spent an hour a week using all these different things that I'm showing the other two that I absolutely love, which I will finish off with showing you a little bit of a kind of walk around in these absence. Happier and I have t t t. Or if you want to call it that Su Hooper. Good APS, Um, literally. If you get one thing, this is probably the one thing, but, you know, it depends on your business, but this is one of the one thing that I can't live without. So first we'll go over is happier. Um, this is a free at first kind of app. They both have. They both have premium versions, like most APS do. So you're gonna have to play around with each of these and see which one you need the most . I use both. Sometimes I actually don't use my zaps all that often. They're kind of rare, but I have tea. Tea? Tea is one that I use literally every single day. Um, but they're both really worthwhile in tow. Looking into ever know mail, chimp, goal, drive. All that stuff that we use all the time. WordPress is one of them. This there's so many zaps that air. So worthwhile toe. Look into QuickBooks as we mentioned, um, so, so, so many. That can really be beneficial no matter what kind of business you have, um, really worthwhile to look into. You can see all of these are really great if used gum road to sell some of your products. So awesome even read it so you can get some really fun updates. Ready? Totally worth while and pretty much all the bookkeeping acts. Aaron here. Ah, lot of email marketing software is included in zaps. Totally awesome. So some of my favorites and I'm just gonna show you some examples real quick so we can make this video short ish, um, is Evernote So say you use ever know as your personal to do list manager, But for your clients, you you show them updates on their web design or something like that. Maybe your photographer. So you show them sample outfits they can wear to their engagement photos or whatever. Um, stuff like that. You can Maybe you should talk this Trillo zap or the asana one. I know a lot of designers, a lot of designer clients and students. I have use asana for their clients to show them updates and kind of does this logo example look good to you? And they actually have ever known for their own. So these types of integrations are really worthwhile, and I actually will probably start including this one into my systems. Um, we will Cal to ever know and vice versa. That would be really helpful if use QuickBooks or, you know, fresh books or whatever. This could be really worthwhile as well on. And I realized little things like stripe to QuickBooks zap. I realized that I was doing a lot of things of, like, manually writing down Pape out or just like filing away my PayPal receives in Gmail and then having to go in every month and print the Mao or file them away and just little little things like that that were actually taking up a lot of time and energy. So if a little act like this will do it for you, that's totally worth it. Because that not only the time and the money you can save, you know, you're not gonna miss any income or any expenses which obviously is going to cost you time . I mean, got your money, but it also saves you some energy because it's those little draining admin tests. I don't know about you, but for me, those kill me every day when I have to go in and clean on my inbox or, you know, run some numbers or whatever. Having them automated is gonna make me way more accurate, which is really good. I'm gonna be safe with my numbers and it's not gonna drain me, which is really important to me as a creative entrepreneur. So I have DDT, my top top top favorite. Um, and it's probably my favorite, because, um, it's it's more free. I get more for my free account. Um, that's happier. And I've literally been using it for years. We What I love about it is that they help you create so many. The team has all these fun like updates. I even have it set up. So I get emails from them with alerts and tutorials and stuff. Recipes just remind social media. I have most of those working, Um, they have some other absent really fun. And there's even a list in this for using them for your wedding. And we really, really, really did use. I have t t t for our wedding. It actually helped tremendously. So just showing you a few of the popular ones today, um, you know, stuff. We talked about social media backing up your phone. Even I use that a lot. Um, I'm gonna show you kind of all the crazy channels that are included, and these air constantly being updated constantly every time I log in their something new, and I'm just like, Oh, my word, you can totally have a full on smart house from just I have t t and some stuff you can buy on Amazon. It's crazy. A lot of blogging stuff. I have WordPress and medium connected super awesome for me. Um, male chimp is a new one. It's really great if you use buffer huge, Um, even silly things. Um, I have it set up to sometimes text me and show me the weather or text me and remind me, you know, call my grandmother or something like that. Use it for our wedding toe, have some of our wedding hashtagged photos and things that were uploaded to Facebook and instagram and all that stuff to automatically go to a local drive. And that worked awesome for us here. Some other ones. These are just super super helpful. I love it. I will stop gushing about how much I love it and show you some other examples. So if you smell chip, for example Um, really great. Once I know a lot of people that use, um I t t t especially in, like, a start upsetting. Like if you share an office, um, they will have a notification every time you get a sale or a new subscriber. Um, a lot of people will use, like some of the smart APs that we saw up at the top with, like, Jean lights or something like that. So they'll have when they make a sale in Gum Road or whatever channel, they use it a little, flicker the lights or change the color of the lights, even do the same of male chip. That would be really fun, but I know a lot of people that love to do that and then, of course, their social media stuff. So we know that Instagram to tumbler can be done on Instagram. But you can also set it up this way if you want it to, which sometimes as a little bit more customization. So it's worth looking into, um, and there's just so many awesome ones. Even if you have a Fitbit, there's so many things to do with a Fitbit. It's so crazy. Awesome. So I really, really recommend you look into these two acts and also look into things like updating your bookkeeping, which is super important, or even just a few hacks like Mac book. I'm AC adobe packs. Those can be also really, really good. So I'll see you in the project video next 5. Your Project!: Hi, guys. Welcome to your project video. So excited to see how things class in this process helps you to organize your business and grow your business and take a lot of stress off your plate and even shave some time off your work week to go do other. Thankfully, hang out with your loved ones or read a book. Work out our catch up on your Netflix queue. Whatever it iss um, in the project. What I love to do is I love to just have people show their work. I love to use the project section below as kind of a notebook as you go for the class so you can post your time log, maybe a screenshot or photo. Whatever you end up doing to investigate your time, Poza and you can post some things that you realized as he went through it. You know, you realize he spent two a chairman email or on YouTube or whatever post some of the stuff you found out in video to evaluate. Or you can post and or you post your favorite I T. T recipes or some of the fun automation stuff you've found through your study of your time and acts that you look to use for your business and all of that stuff. Hi, guys. Welcome to the Project Video. I am so excited to see how this precept kind of process helps you in your business and take some stress off your plate and helps you grow, which is super important, right? So what I love to do with projects in my classes is actually allow project area below To be kind of like a work book or no book as you go through the class. So a lot of times we just share our ideas. As we go through the class, I blogged through the project and I do the product below as well, so you can see mine. Um, you can just post maybe post your time lock was a screenshot of it, or a picture of it post some bullet points of things that you learned as you tracked your time. You can even post some of your favorite I t. T recipes or some other automation stuff that you found and loved. And I do this because we can create a really great almost like a mastermind type of space in the comments and in our projects and in the past and some of my classes. This has created a space where some of the students have gone on to be published in magazines based on ideas that we've brand stormed and encouragement and resource is that other students, or myself, have shared in the comments on your project. So you encourage you Teoh post whatever you can in the project and even keep updating it as you go. I do that a lot with my classes as well, so I hope you will pose. I hope you will share this class with some people that air. You know, they're overwhelmed. Some of your friends who want to be entrepreneurs or freelancers who want to grow their businesses. This is super important stuff, and I also encourage you, and I ask you to leave a review on this class. If it's been helpful for you, or leave any feedback you have, I will totally appreciate it. Thank you so much for being here, guys. It was such a pleasure to teach his glass, and I'm really looking forward to what kind of brainstorming we can do with the comments of the projects. Thanks, guys.