In my opinion, one of the greatest things about being alive and running a business right now is technology. There are new apps, inventions, software, and websites that make our lives and businesses easier and a whole lot more fun.
Remember when you had to schedule doctor’s appointments yourself or wait on the phone with your cable company for hours? Now, there’s an app for that. Oh, and remember when you had to search the papers and hire a realtor to find a new apartment? There’s an app and a website for that, too. You can find an apartment without leaving your bed on Sunday morning, and really, you should be allowed to stay in your be at least one morning on the weekend.
If you want to clone yourself to get more things done in your business and life without actually spending more time, here are some of the best and coolest automation tools I’ve found thus far.
Personal Assistant Services
- Fancy Hands – They call themselves assistants for everyone, and at a price of $29.99/month for basic personal assistant services, they are right. Let someone else call the phone company or schedule the plumber. This service is genius.
- Fiverr – You can find someone to handle almost anything you need in your business for $5. Seriously…it’s $5.
- Task Rabbit – Do you need help around the house? Call on Task Rabbit to help you move, clean your house or clear out your garage.
- Fresh Direct – FreshDirect is grocery shop online with delivery. The groceries are delivered to your door without the long lines or hassle.
- Thrive Market – Organic and non-toxic products delivered at the price of traditional groceries. Did I mention that they deliver?
- Amazon Prime – Amazon isn’t just for books. You can create a subscription for reoccurring needs like toothpaste, laundry detergent, and soap and get almost anything in 2 days or less.
Productivity and Organization
- Google Apps For Work – Professional email, shared calendaring, and document collaboration for you and your team. For the low cost of $5 or $10 per user per month, you get access to a custom email address with a Gmail interface and a suite of applications like Calendar, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Vault (online file storage), and Sites (essentially your business intranet site)
- Dropbox – With Dropbox you can automate the back up of your files and photos, so you never lose anything. You can also create custom links to share specific files with others. It’s free for personal use and as low as $10/month for businesses.
- Asana – Asana is the ultimate project management application. It allows you to organize, delegate tasks, and set deadlines. It’s intuitive, easy to us, and for small organizations it’s free.
- Acuity – Acuity allows you to eliminate the back and forth when scheduling an appointment or meeting with a client. Acuity syncs to your calendar and gives you a custom link so clients can schedule themselves.
- Canned Response – Instead of having to retype the same ol’ email over and over again, Canned Response lets you type it once, save it, and re-use that saved message. Find it in Gmail.
Finance and Accounting
- Shoeboxed – I had accordion files of receipts and a notebook categorizing expenses. Then I found Shoeboxed. You can literally put all of your receipts in a mailbox and ship them. Shoeboxed will scan, categorize, and digitize them.
- Waveapp – Waveapp is the free way to track your business expenses. Link all of your accounts, and Waveapp does the work for you.
- Buffer – Buffer allows you to schedule and share social media content across multiple social media platforms with the added feature of helping you to find items to share.
- Hootesuite – Hootesuite is the ultimate social media dashboard. It lets you schedule and share content. It also helps you to monitor responses to your posts.
- Rapportive – Rapportive syncs the social profiles of anyone you email and anyone who emails you. That social media info appears in a nice pop-up window on the side of your message. It’s a great way to lean a little about a new prospect or customer
Putting It All Together
- Zapier – Zapier automates the functioning between your apps using Zaps. So if you want to save a Gmail attachment to Dropbox automatically, you set a Zap, and it’s done. No need to download and then save.
- IFTTT (If This Then That) – IFTTT is similar to Zapier, but you create recipes instead of Zaps. So, you can automatically save the photos you are tagged in on Facebook in Dropbox, too.
Want to add to the list? Let me know your favorite automation tools in the comments below.