Working with a virtual assistant or other professional to help you with some of the routine tasks in your small business can be a great decision and free up your time to focus on your income generating activities.
But delegate wisely! Don’t delegate what you can automate. Save time and money by automating these six common tasks.
1) Digital Product Delivery: If you sell digital products, instead of receiving each order and then emailing the files or links to the files by hand, set up a cart which automatically delivers the purchased products. Many carts offer this feature including Zen Cart, e-Junkie, 1ShoppingCart, and more.
2) E-Course or “Free Taste” Delivery: It can take a lot of time to send out an e-course or other freebies one at a time to every website visitor who requests it. Setup an autoresponder and it will deliver the email(s) for you as soon as they’re requested.
3) Newsletter Management: Managing a newsletter through your email program can quickly grow out of control. Instead use a newsletter service like Aweber, Get Response, or YMLP. It will verify each subscriber, add them to your list, email them each time you want to send a newsletter, and handle any necessary unsubscribes for you.
4) Social Networking Updates: With tools like blog RSS feeds, Ping.FM, TweetLater, and similar you can combine a bit of automation with your real presence. Use your blog’s RSS feed and set it up to update your Facebook status, Tweet for you, etc. each time you post instead of updating each network one at a time. With Ping.FM you can update multiple networks at once, too. TweetLater allows you to set a tweet to go out at a predetermined time. You can’t replace yourself with these tools but you can use them to help you manage the time you spend on social networks.
5) Email Spam Control: Spam is out of control. It can take an hour or more a day to deal with it if you receive a large volume of email. Instead of asking your VA to delete your spam, setup good spam filtering and then deal with what’s left. A few spam emails will still get through but you’ll save a lot of time.
6) Blog Spam Control: Akismet makes a great plugin for WordPress that will eat the spam for you so you don’t have to spend time deleting all those spam comments that hit your blog.
Once you’ve done the initial setup to automate these tasks, they’ll take care of themselves. Then you and your VA are free to focus your time on other projects.