Automating Your Business: A Sample Workflow

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SUPPLIES: Technical Help Required by Studio Dawn Inskip

The is the final post in a 3-part series on Automating your business! I hope you’ve found it helpful. Today we’re taking a walk through just one of my automation workflows. Your tasks will probably differ quite a bit from my own, but hopefully this sample workflow will get your automation brain turning. Automating your business, whether large or small, means that you have some free time to concentrate on other endeavors. An example of this could be a business that deals with e-commerce, business owners can use automation quoting software from something similar to Salesforce to ensure that invoices are upheld while concentrating on improving customer service.

A Sample Workflow

Call me crazy, but as a self-proclaimed spreadsheet geek, I actually use spreadsheets to create blog posts. I use the “concatenate” command to string together multiple text fields. This allows me to create one blog post, copy the HTML code and paste it into the spreadsheet. I go through and separate the code out into individual boxes, removing any customized information, like filenames or URLs and replacing them with an empty field that I can either fill in myself, or autofill by using a field on another spreadsheet tab in the same document. I know, it’s a little complex, and unconventional. But, to give a practical example, let me walk you through one workflow that I have set up.

1) Send out a Google Form to collaborators and ask them to fill in their name and file name.

2) Ask collaborators to upload their file to DBInbox, a drag and drop Dropbox uploader solution.

3) Set Hazel (the automation app for Mac) to watch that folder, open Photoshop, resize the image to my blog size using an action, save it. Hazel then copies that file to my website server via FTP.

4) Google notifies me when the form is filled out, with the responses going into a spreadsheet. Dropbox notifies me when the file is uploaded. Hazel notifies me when the file is uploaded.

5) Once all responses have come in, I copy all the responses from the spreadsheet into my special HTML spreadsheet. The filenames then auto-populate into the HTML code. I copy the “concatenate” field for the code and paste that into WordPress.

6) Schedule the post to publish at a later date.

This process takes about 5-10 minutes of my time. This process used to take me 30-45 minutes. The spreadsheet probably took me 30 minutes to an hour to set up, but now it saves me time every single week! These are the types of tasks that really benefit from automation. What can YOU automate today?