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When thinking about what business tasks and processes to automate, there are a number of key considerations. Some business tasks are much better suited to automation than others. Having said that, partial or full automation can save a lot of time and money, especially if you find tools that suit your needs and which are free or affordable.


Why Automate?

If you are running your own business, there are never enough hours in the day, or a large enough budget to hire help in order to get it all done. Automation provides cost and time savings. In some cases, it will enable you to do things you would simply not be able to do unless you had software to help you.


What Tasks Are Best Automated?

The best tasks to automate are standard ones with clear steps and rules to follow, with few variations. For example, email marketing is a great way to make sales and build relationships with your target audience, but you would never be able to build, grow, maintain a list, and market to it, if there weren’t email marketing platforms such as MailChimp and AWeber.

This brings us to another reason for certain tasks to become automated: scalability. You need automation in place that will support your business’s growth over time. The larger the number of customers, the more work there will be. If a task is holding you back in terms of the time it takes or how often you have to do it, because your sales and marketing efforts are growing, chances are it might be worth putting on your list of tasks to consider automating.


Time Management

If a task is time-consuming every day, you should try to automate it. If it takes up your time or that of your employees when there are really more important things you should be doing, it’s time to automate. Things like database management and customer service can usually be streamlined with the right software. This can free you up for relationship building with your target audience.


Simple to Complex Tasks

As long as a task can be broken down into clearly defined steps, chances are there is a way to automate it. The more complex the task, the longer the set-up time, but the greater the time savings.


Working around the Clock

An online business does not work 9 to 5. It is open 24/7/365, in every time zone, all at the same time, even during holidays, your vacation days, and times when you are asleep or sick. Automation is the only way to keep the work going and the profits flowing.


Maintaining Standards

If you set up your automation correctly from the beginning, you will be relying less on individuals’ performances, so things will be more standardized and professional, and your business will have a more stable foundation for growth.


Fewer Issues with Outsourcing

If you want to grow your business, you will usually have to hire workers or outsource tasks. Human beings can be unpredictable, unreliable and even dishonest. Automate as much as possible, and you will not have to hire so many freelancers to tackle your daily chores such as social media interactions.


Better Record Keeping

In most cases, the automated software you use will keep a record of everything that has been accomplished. You should then be able to track the metrics about the work, such as email marketing via your autoresponder. In this way, you can see your results and improve upon them.


Use these tips to help you decide which business tasks to automate. If you plan well and choose the right tasks, it will save you both time and money.

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There are a number of common mistakes small business owners make when they start thinking about trying to automate some of their business tasks. Automation can save time and money, and free up your resources so you can do other things, but only if you proceed slowly and sensibly. Here are seven mistakes to watch out for.


  1. You Don’t Have a Plan

If you are going to automate a task, you need to have a plan for automating it. First, pick a task that is taking up a lot of time. Start by breaking it down into steps that are reproducible. Then begin looking for technical solutions that can help get the task done.


  1. You Haven’t Done Enough Research

You might be so desperate to automate that you haven’t done the research to find the right tool for the job. Consider at least two or three solutions and weigh the pros and cons based on the time it takes to set up and maintain it, training, and costs.


  1. You Don’t Use the Tool to Its Full Potential

Some tools are more robust than others and offer a number of different features and opportunities for growth. Once you have got your automation set up, look under the hood a bit more to see what other time-saving and money-saving features it offers.


  1. You’re Using Too Many Tools

Some business owners use a range of free tools without always being clear about what role they have to play in the overall growth and success of their company. If you are using more than one tool to do the same task, it might be time to narrow down your options and stick to one. It will streamline things and not put so much of a demand on your time in terms of learning new interfaces and so on.


  1. You’re Scared to “Let Go”

Some business owners micromanage and are real control freaks when it comes to running their business. You might be hesitating to automate your business because you don’t want to let go of the task. You get nervous and feel as though things are going to go beyond your control.

A more realistic view is that you are in control because you will be setting up everything yourself from scratch, and monitoring it from time to time just to make sure everything is running smoothly. Once it is automated, you won’t have to worry as much about not having the time to pay attention to the task, or of making a mistake. You also won’t need to worry about outsourced workers doing anything you don’t wish them to do.


  1. You’re Scared of Technology

With so many tools on the market, it is easy to get overwhelmed by your number of choices. It is also easy to become intimidated by a new program and struggle to learn it in order to get the best use out of it.

Fortunately, many tools are free, or offer a free trial. You can then try before you buy and get a sense of how easy the tool will be to use, and how good the reporting is so you can track your results. Aim for the most popular software in its class, and chances are you will find a tool that will prove invaluable for the automation and growth of your business.


  1. Trying to Do Too Much at Once

Focus on automating one task at a time, then move on to the next item on your list.


Avoid these mistakes that others have made before you, and you’ll save yourself both time and money.  And don’t be afraid of asking for professional assistance.

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Being a business owner and a traveller is, sometimes, not an easy thing! It could be easy to get distracted by your travels or not having the proper tools to perform all the tasks you need. Especially when you’re working from a coffee shop, library or even an airport. Of course, we think that getting some help during that time to make sure your business is under control is your best idea; but if getting a VA is not an option this time; these apps will help you to do your job a bit easier:


Currency converter:

Travelling overseas can be a bit tricky sometimes. Currencies are not an easy thing to handle when you get to a new country… until you get this app!

This fantastic app will do the entire job; it will show you the exchange rate of up to 15 currencies at the same time on your screen and if you want to do some math you can use the built-in calculator.

The best part: It’s free and you don’t need an Internet connection to use it! How great is that?


Google Keep:

This one is an easy and powerful to do list and notes app. Why? It allows you to link your Gmail account to get email notifications and reminders and you can have shared lists with friends or your team/staff. You can also have audio notes and pictures as reminders! Of course this is a free app as well.



Do you need to send some documents to a supplier or sign an invoice and send it back? No worries, this app helps you do a professional job on the road.

You may wonder, why using Camscanner instead of just taking a picture? Easy, you are not only able to crop your picture in a fantastic way with the document in a great quality to read and print, but also they have a very useful search feature. For example, by entering “I like eating cake” in the search box, all pictures containing the text “I like eating cake” will be listed. You don’t have to dig out the entire contract you scanned or that Italian restaurant menu for Fridays nights.

Other cool features:

– It allows you to convert your pictures into PDF

– Magic colour: for coloured documents, rich and sharp colour ensured.

– B & W: removes shadows, the best for printing and faxes.

– Grayscale: preview document as printed.

– Lighten: add some fill-in lights for pictures taken in insufficient light.



This is also a tricky one. Missing meetings just because we got confused with the time zones isn’t funny. This app will help you with this issue, just by selecting the cities you need.

The free version allows you to see 4 cities at the same time in your dashboard. This is one of the great apps for business!



Are you good with money while you travel? This app can help you and your business to control your expenses. This app has calendars, charts and several tools to make it easy. You can upload all the invoices you get, sort them by day, month or even locations. Also, they have a Travel mode to assign expenses to a specific trip and have your bills more organized than ever. And of course, you can sort your bills in different categories such as clothing, education, food and drink, rent, shopping and much more. All these features are in the free version, can you imagine all it can do on the PRO one?

A great app to keep you organized not only when you travel but also in your everyday life!


Google Translator – Speak & Translate:

These great apps for business are useful, but… Are you travelling to an exotic country and have no idea how to ask for a print service or a toilet? No worries, you can ask for your favourite dessert, attraction or that souvenir you wanted so bad from now on. You can use it on your computer here.

Also, if you have iPhone you can try Speak & Translate, where you don’t even have to write! Just talk and wait for your lovely assistant to talk in the language you want. You choose what language to speak in and what language it translates to. With a press of a button the languages flip so the person you talk to get translated.

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Amazon Associates is one of the most popular affiliate programs online because it is so easy to get started and Amazon is such a popular shopping site. Join the program, create links, and you will be helping customers access millions of hot products in exchange for a commission.


Program Changes

When you join the program, you will be asked to give an email address. It might be a good idea to create a separate one from your regular address because you will get regular emails from Amazon about payments, changes to the program, special offers and bounties, and more. There are many ways to earn with Amazon, and taking the time to read these emails as they come in can help you make the most of the opportunity.


Recent Changes You Might Wish to Know About

The biggest change has been the closing down of the Associates stores. You used to be able to create an entire store with affiliate links in just a couple of clicks that you could then give the URL to in order to drive traffic. Unfortunately, Amazon’s research showed it was one of the least successful money-making parts of the site, so they have phased it out.



Bounties are a flat rate commission when you get people to sign up for certain parts of the site. The newest bounty is $3 per person who signs up for the baby registry.


Amazon Channels

Amazon Channels is for Amazon Prime members. Prime members pay an annual fee and get various perks, such as free standard shipping, eBooks, audiobooks, original Amazon TV shows, and more. The annual fee is currently $99, so you would get a bounty on everyone who signs up.

As part of the Prime service, Amazon has been adding TV channels, so you might no longer need cable if you subscribe to certain stations and watch the shows on your computer or other devices. Prices vary depending on the channel. Channels include HBO, Showtime, Starz and more. You would also earn commission for new registrations.


The Influencer Program

Many associates have a website or blog and post their affiliate links there. But not everyone has a site or blog, or wants to go to the time, effort and expense of creating one. Blogging requires a lot of content to be produced on a regular basis as a context for selling affiliate products. For example, if you were running a cooking-related blog, your articles and recipes would be the perfect places to put links.

The Influencer program opens up affiliate marketing to people who have no site or blog, but are active on social media.

Influencers across any category can participate in the program. They must have a YouTube, Instagram, Twitter or Facebook account to qualify. Amazon will look at the number of followers you have, and the degree of engagement you get from your posts. Above all, they will be looking at the type of content you post at your account, and how relevant it is to Amazon customers.

For example, if you write a lot about pets and make recommendations often for the best pet products, and get a good response from your target audience such as likes, comments and shares, you will probably be a good fit for the program.

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Being a good decision maker can help you in business and life. It’s been said that highly confident people make decisions clearly and stick to them rather than changing their minds or being indecisive.

And even if decision making doesn’t come naturally to you, it is a skill which can be built on. Here are a few tips to help you:


Start small. Even making small everyday decisions will help you accomplish the bigger goal. Small decisions such as what food to eat at a restaurant are not to be underestimated. A good way to start is the next time you’re eating out, look at the menu and decide what you’d like to eat. Then put the menu down and don’t change your mind. Don’t ask your companions what they’re having and base your decision on that – make the decision on your own and then stick to it.

Small steps like this can be empowering and help you to tackle the bigger decisions to come in the future.


Approach decisions logically. Many of us tend to make emotion-based decisions rather than logical ones. In business, this can spell disaster. A good way to help you approach decisions in a logical manner may be to write down a list of pros and cons.

Simply grab a sheet of paper and label one side pros and one side cons. Then list all the good and bad points of your choice. Logically think through your comments and then make your decision. This way you can leave emotions out of the equation and concentrate purely on the facts.


Cut yourself some slack. Making decisions is a skill which can be learned but even pros don’t always make the right choices. Realize that making decisions effectively takes confidence and is a great first step, but your decisions may not always be the right decisions. If you happen to make the wrong decision, give yourself a break and take comfort in the fact that you thought out your decision clearly and logically and made the best choice possible at the time.


Being a good decision maker takes time and practice. However, it’s a worthwhile skill to develop. Making decisions regularly may help build your confidence level and also help people know where they stand with you – two great entrepreneurial qualities.

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As a businesswoman, it’s very important to have a good support network.  You need fellow businesswomen to share experiences and tips with. You need women who are in fields related to yours to ask questions.  The sense of community provided by a group of businesswomen can help see you through the tough times.

But finding a group in your area isn’t always practical.  Maybe there are networking groups that you could join, but they might meet at times that are not convenient for you.  Or if you’re not in a metropolitan area, there may not be any groups that are especially for women in your area. That doesn’t mean that you’re left out in the cold, though.

There are plenty of online communities designed for businesswomen and female entrepreneurs.  These communities offer such features as profile pages, forums, chat rooms and classified ads.  They give women a place to connect with like-minded women from their own homes and offices.

With all of the online communities for businesswomen out there, it can be tempting to join and participate in them all.  But by doing so, you limit your opportunity for meaningful connections. Keeping up with so many different communities takes a lot of time, and there’s little possibility for reward.  By finding one or two good communities and sticking with them, you can better reap the benefits they have to offer.


Here are some tips for finding the right online community for you.

Keep your objectives in mind.  If you are looking for referrals, a group that consists completely of women in your field is probably not the best choice for you.  That doesn’t mean you can’t join for the opportunity to learn from others in your business, but if referrals are what you want, you may not want to limit yourself.


Ask colleagues for recommendations.  Those who are experienced in online networking often know the best places to do so.


Take the groups that interest you for a test drive.  Many communities offer a free trial, and some are completely free.  So if you find one you like, join up and network with the members for a week or so.  This will give you a feel for how everything works and how supportive the other members are.  If you decide it’s not for you, move on and find something else.


Read the rules of such communities carefully.  Most have restrictions on blatant advertising. While it is rarely banned outright, there is often a designated time or place for it.  Disobeying these rules could get you booted, and at the very least it will turn off the other members.


Online networking is a great way to find business partners and generate referrals.  Communities designed specifically for women are also valuable sources of business advice and can result in lasting friendships.  Even if you have the opportunity to network locally, networking with fellow businesswomen online offers lots of rewards.

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What is a niche?

A niche is basically a sub-market within a larger market. By marketing to a niche group you ensure that your marketing message is specific to that group. And although that group may be smaller, your conversion rates (ie. sales) should be higher.

An example of a niche market within the weight loss market is “weight loss after pregnancy” or “weight loss for children.”

Now that you understand the basics of niche marketing, here are a few tips to help you with your research.


Magazines and books. Your local bookstore is a fantastic starting point to your niche research. Take a look at the new books on the shelves. This will give you many new ideas for markets and potential products.

An even better research tool is the magazine stand. Magazines are notoriously difficult to print and distribute. This means that if you see the same magazine running concurrently on the stands, you’re looking at a good possible niche market.

And when looking through magazines, take a specific look at the advertisers within the magazine. These are the people that are potentially making money within the niche. What types of products are they promoting? Do you see similar products throughout? The Amazon website is a great tool for helping you find niche markets without even having to leave your house. Take a specific look at the book and DVD section. Narrow your search by choosing “new products.” You’ll see an array of books and DVDs on a variety of topics.

Amazon specifically contains many small niche books which you may not find at your local book store. It’s another great starting point for your market research. This is a huge site filled with articles on nearly every topic under the sun. You’ll see the main categories listed and then sub-categories within those. These are your niche markets and the ones to pay specific attention to.

Each article will contain a link to the author’s website in the bio line at the end of the article. When you read the articles, take a look at the different authors’ websites. By visiting these websites you’ll start to get an understanding of what the niche involves and what products are being presented to that target market.

Ezine Articles is a very good source of information and one every marketer should look at on a regular basis. It will help you stay up to date with all the latest trends and markets on the internet. This is another great website for “bigger picture” marketing. has many features on new business start-ups as well as information about marketing and business. Although it may not be the best place for niche market research, it certainly is a good source to get an overall feel for different markets.

Niche marketing is a great approach to internet marketing. Rather than going for a large pool of customers, you concentrate on a small amount and instead aim for higher conversion rates. This makes your overall marketing efforts easier and even more enjoyable.


The tips here will help you get started with your research. It’s recommended that you use several different approaches to your research. The more you can research a market before diving into it, the better.

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So, you’ve thought about your business, picked your niche, and now you’re ready to get started.  Before you start, do go your favourite search engine and enter your key terms in. Chances are, you’re going to find quite a few hits for your search.  These are all people you’re going to be competing with. The key to succeeding in your business is having a USP – a unique selling point. This is what sets you apart from all those other businesses.  It’s why your customers choose you over the other guys.

Sure, other things matter when it comes to getting business – marketing, service, prices, and a good dose of luck.  But a USP is that special kick that puts you above everyone else. Plus, if you have a great USP, you can base everything else around it.


So, you know the point of having a unique selling point, but that doesn’t make it any easier to come up with one.  It may take days or even weeks, but once you figure it out, it’ll be worth it.

When thinking up a USP, start with what you do best.  If you’re not really a people person, then great customer service probably shouldn’t be the basis or your USP.  While it doesn’t need to be based solely around your strengths, you’ll only benefit if it is.

Perhaps a bigger issue to consider when coming up with your USP is what your customers need.  Providing a special service is great, but not if there are already many other companies that provide similar services (hence the “unique”).  It’s also not going to be helpful if no one really wants or needs the special service you offer.


Many people can get frustrated coming up with a special touch to promote their business.  Just remember that it doesn’t need to be crazy or elaborate. It can be simple, almost obvious – it just has to be different.

If you’re having trouble, just take a turn being a customer for a competitive business.  After trying it out, decide what’s good about their business and what needs improvement. Now focus on what needs fixing and promote yourself by being able to do what they can’t.  You see it all the time on commercials when companies say they’re “softer than the leading brand” or “tastes the same with less sugar”. Stand out by making their flaws your USP.


A USP is a great way to reel in customers and keep them around, but there’s no way to reel them in if you can’t get a bite.  You need a marketing campaign based around your USP. Don’t just use it as a line at the end of your commercial or at the bottom of your sales letter, find a unique advertising campaign based around your specific USP.  That way, your advertisements will not only get your name out there, they’ll also let people know exactly why they should choose you over the other guys.

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Whether you own a web-based business or a ‘brick and mortar’ store, email marketing is something to consider. Communication with your existing or prospective clientele is paramount in the business world. In case you have any doubts about how this can benefit your business, here are five reasons why email marketing is a positive choice for your business needs.

  1. Inexpensive: Email marketing is the least expensive marketing tool you will find. Many email marketers choose to use programs such as Aweber or ConstantContact. If neither of those meets your needs, you can do a search on your favourite search engine to find one that would work for you.


  1. Quick: It takes a simple matter of minutes to get as much information about your contacts, as it does to send information to them with email marketing. You want to ensure you never let an opportunity to ask for a client or potential client’s contact information so you can contact them again for promotions or new items. The worst they can say is no, but there is an equal chance they could say yes. If at first, you don’t succeed, try try again!


  1. Higher return on your investment: By using what is known as a double opt-in method on your website or blog, you are able to collect subscribers to your mailing list. These people will have been to your site and are already aware of what you have to offer. You will, therefore, be narrowing your targeted group. These people are more inclined to purchase from you again because they know you already. This results in perfect opportunities for you to offer pre-release sales on new products and/or services to your existing customer’s list. As they have dealt with you in some capacity in the past, they are likely to do business with you again.


  1. Increasing sales with personalized email: Building a mailing list for your online business is a simple yet effective way you can increase your sales. This is where collecting information about your current or potential customers comes in handy. The key is to have them accept further email marketing messages from you in the future when you have something new to offer or a special in the pipeline. With the collection of subscribers’ names during the sign-up process or following a purchase, many email sender programs will insert these names into a mass email. Your e-mail message will start out addressing each customer personally, like “Hello [insert name]”, and will arrive to each recipient personalized with their own name.


  1. Increasing traffic to your website is another way you can achieve a higher sales level. Targeted email campaigns such as newsletters or sales announcements with a link to your website have approximately a 30 to 50% chance of obtaining a new customer, a sale or both. By using words and formats which will attract the attention of your readers without going to extremes, you are more likely to keep people reading through the whole email.


Whether your need is to send certain information to only part of your list, or track responses on a certain product or service, email marketing is a great tool for your business. This opportunity is a powerful way to bring your business up a notch without breaking the bank or using up valuable time needed on other aspects of your business.

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There are a number of ways to use chatbots in your business in order to develop a relationship with your target audience and keep your customers happy.


  1. Customer Service

Customer service that is as close to real time as possible is bound to impress customers. Many large businesses have taken to Twitter and other social media sites to interact more rapidly with those who contact them. The trouble is, they have to be online to do so.

Chatbots, on the other hand, are online 24/7/365 to answer questions. Automation of this type can save a lot of time, effort and wages, while still keeping your customers and prospect happy. It does require some advance planning to set up a customer service chatbot using keywords which will trigger the correct pre-prepared response, but the technology has now improved to the point where chatbots are a good deal more accurate.

In addition, they have improved to the point where customers, particularly younger ones who are always in a hurry, are happy to use them rather than email or social media and then have to wait for a response.


  1. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Many businesses create an FAQ portal in the hope that customers will help themselves and find the answers they seek. But there are always going to be some who don’t want to hunt for the information they need and also desire “human” contact and interaction. A chatbot with pre-loaded words from typical questions will help trigger the kinds of answers they are looking for. They will get their answers right away, often at a critical point in their decision-making process, which can lead to more sales and profits.

Think of your pre-loaded messages as the follow-up or autoresponder emails in your email marketing platform, except customized to match what your customers have asked for specifically. If you’re not already using a chatbot like Facebook Messenger, it might be time to explore how useful a chatbot can be.


  1. Marketing

Marketing online can be very time-consuming because of the many different channels you need to cover. Basically, you have to be where your customers are. This means all of the top social networks, email, discussion boards and chat rooms, and more.

If you can automate your marketing, you can still promote your business effectively, but still, save time and person-hours. A chatbot can help because it allows you to message anyone who is connected with you. Think of it as a “broadcast” email in your email marketing platform, with you sharing important news with your followers. This news might include:


A product launch – Letting people know your new product is available could just give it the boost it needs to be successful right out of the starting gate.


A webinar (just starting) – Invite people to your webinar. Then, when your webinar is about to start, message a reminder to attend, and to invite others to do so as well if the people on your list know anyone else who might be interested.


A special flash sale – Sales are a good way to stimulate more profits, especially when things are slow. Flash sales are also a great way to help give your followers the feeling they are appreciated and special.


A live video event (just starting) – Invite them to attend your YouTube or Facebook Live video at a particular date and time. Send a reminder just before you are starting. Encourage them by making it clear they can ask you questions live on the video, for more interactivity and relationship building.


As you can see, chatbots can be invaluable for your marketing and customer service. Use it wisely!