Automation is something I’ve geeked out over since 2012.
To me, it was just a part of life and my work as a blogger, marketer, etc. I thought that everyone else felt the same way.
But as I’ve published more and talked (read: geeked out) more, I’ve been really surprised by other solopreneurs’ reactions to workflow automation in general.
Turns out, very few people stop at the automation station as frequently as I do!
And I wished it was for a good reason, but it’s not. Man, people have it so mixed up. ?
They have automation so wrong, and in ways that are kind of ridiculous. It’s a good thing I’m alone behind a computer, so no one sees me laugh. I’ll just sit here, being productive.
There are a lot of assumptions people make about automation before they’re really familiar with it. And as a result, they’re scared of getting started.
That’s their loss. They’re missing out and wasting time.
Here are a few of the things people have told me about automation over the past few months:
5 Myths People Believe About Workflow Automation
1. “Automation is expensive. I can’t afford it.”
A lot of automation apps are pretty cool and fancy-looking. Because of that, people assume so much power and fanciness has to cost an arm and a leg.
First of all, most automation apps are incredibly reasonably priced for the amount of value you get. For example, IFTTT is free and Zapier starts at $20/month – less than you’re probably paying for a few apps that do wayyy less.
Secondly, think about how much time you’ll save and how much you value your time at. How much is an hour worth to you? It’s a lot easier to spend a simple $20/month when your freelance rate is $40/hour or more and it’ll save you a whole workday (that’s like $320 for an 8-hour day!)!
2. “Automation’s friggin’ complicated. I can’t be bothered.”
Lololol. The whole point of workflow automation is to uncomplicate things!
People think about the kind of technology involved to automate things, and they really overestimate how much tech savviness is required to get started.
But the purpose of automation apps is to allow anyone to automate things. The apps are easy to use once you understand how they work. You can automate hours of work and build custom integrations without knowing how to write a single line of code!
3. “Ugh, automated tasks are generic, so it’s not even helpful.”
Well, if you only did the bare minimum with all your automations and tried to build advanced workflows…yes, it would look generic.
So just don’t do that. It’s that simple.
If someone’s just tried one IFTTT recipe, they’ve only seen a small sliver of what automation can do. There’s a ton of customization and advanced settings that are there when you need them.
4. “It’s impersonal, so everyone will know I’m automating things.”
People worry that things like automated emails and social media posts will be super obvious, and their audience will get turned off or something.
Again, this only happens when you use automation poorly. Like if you automate the copywriting aspect of those two things in addition to the delivery.
So just don’t do that.
If you put the upfront effort in and write custom copy for your automations, they’ll still “sound like you” instead of like a robot. Avoid social media automation that just automatically pulls in a blog post’s title, and opt for writing your own unique take, and other things that give your marketing a personal touch.
5. “Automating my tasks is time-consuming.”
Excuse me one second…
This is the funniest one to me.
Again, this is the complete opposite of what automation actually does.
Sure, setting up an automation to automate emails might take longer than sending one email, but eventually, it could automate sending hundreds of them.
The whole point of automation is to save time. The work you do upfront is the only work it requires.
When I used to see these Facebook comments, tweets, emails, etc., I would wish there was an easy way to explain what automation actually does and erase everything people thought they knew about it.
People are just so confused! It suuuuucks. It keeps so many people from automating their businesses. Or if they do give it a try, it’s just all wrong.
Here are few ways people eff it up because of misconceptions they walk in with…
3 Mistakes Solopreneurs Make When Using Automation
1. Not automating the right stuff
Automation isn’t “one size fits all,” and it’s not the best time save for every task. To really save time using automation, you need to use it on the right to-dos.
Certain tasks are perfect for automation, and you can therefore get rid of that task quickly and easily. For example, sharing your latest blog post on Facebook. So simple.
But others? They kinda need somebody with a human touch, like the Spice Girls.
Trying to automate something best done by hand will create more work for you in the long run and give you a bad idea about a tool that’s normally really, really awesome!
2. Not fully automating processes
If I had to venture a guess, I’d say this is where you’re at. It’s where most solopreneurs are.
You’re automating specific tasks or actions, but not full, complete processes.
You’re halfway there, living on a prayer.
(Can you tell I’m listening to a great playlist while writing this?)
To be honest, this is the best automation mistake. Because if anything, you’re getting yourself ready to become a productivity machine.
If you’re doing things like automating one share of a blog post, adding something to your to-do list once, etc., that’s just phase 1.
Because when it comes to promoting a blog post or completing a task, those aren’t the only tasks involved. You share a blog post more than once, and anything that goes on your to-do list also has to get crossed off.
Phase 2 of automation is creating processes and chain reactions to build whole workflows to do things for you.
That’s the phase you need to be in to really save time.
3. Not customizing automations
Most people do the bare minimum with their IFTTT recipes and Zapier zaps. Anything to get it off their to-do list, right?
But the more time you put in upfront to set up really baller automations, the more time you’ll save in the long run.
This was the biggest mistake I made at first.
But if I could turn back time, I’d put waaay more effort into my first automations.
Doing things like customizing filters, creating multiple versions of a zap with different settings instead of one generic one, and learning how to transfer data from one app to another.
But nyet! No more!
I will NOT let people keep believing these silly things making these silly mistakes. We’re friends, you and me, and friends don’t let friends waste time on boring stuff.
It’s my mission to show everyone the right way to do things.
Starting now. Starting with this post to change your mind.