As I type, I’m listening to the hum of hammering and sawing coming from the bathroom downstairs. My contractor is making some amazing updates to as I work on this blog post. But, before we both started our work days, we had a chat about running small businesses.
We both agreed, it’s nice to have help!
We talked about working with assistants, hiring employees and the downfalls of when they don’t show up, as he checked his phone yet again wondering where his helper was on this Monday morning.
Our chat turned to a mutual businesswoman friend and how smart she is for using apps to automate many of her business processes. I explained that I’ve done that with many of my tasks too. It saves me so much time!
So, today I thought I’d share a bit more about why and how I’ve decided to run my small business with the help of apps, instead of hiring an assistant. It’s been maybe 10 years since I made this choice, so I have a fair amount of experience and still feel good about this decision.
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1. Apps have a set cost each month.
There’s no overtime pay, holiday pay, or cost of benefits associated with app fees. They are simply a flat rate, so you know exactly what they will cost you per month. The same can’t be said for working with a part-time in-person employee or a virtual assistant. They may log overtime hours or take longer than budgeted for on a project, and cost you more than planned.
Most apps renew monthly or annually, so if your needs or budget changes, you can choose to cut the app from your arsenal as needed. Then, if things shift again, you can easily add the app back, and pick up where you left off!
Human help isn’t as flexible.
2. Apps work every day of the week.
I love that my business can keep rolling behind the scenes when I take days off, am on vacation, as I sleep or when readers are online and I’m offline.
I first came to this conclusion when I started using Buffer to schedule Tweets during the hours I’d be away from my desk. I was reaching people in time zones far away from my home, and it was amazing! I’d wake up to comments and DMs from new people who appreciated my commentary and it was a light bulb moment.
Apps helped me connect with readers 24 hours a day — not just during my business hours!
3. Apps need very little guidance.
Once I learn how an app works, it does its job. I don’t need to constantly check up on an app and make sure it’s showing up, doing its tasks and completing the work in a satisfactory way. Since it’s a program, it does the same output every single time.
For example, I use QuickBooks to create invoices for my clients and I know that every single one will look professional and have all the correct details since the data (client name, address, services, rates, etc.) is programmed into the app.
Bottom line: I find that apps are incredibly reliable, show up to do their thing every day, and even when there are glitches, the app developers let me know things are wacky via email so I can jump in and take care of things.
Do you use apps in lieu of an assistant to manage routine business tasks like processing accounting, setting appointments, checking your grammar and scheduling social media messages? Which apps are your favorites?
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