Automation Is Life
Let's talk about automation, how your business can be more automated and what automation means to everyone. What do you think automation is? What would you say automation is? Doing something once and not have to do it again. Removing repetition. Stuff happens without you having to do it. As long as it's being monitored for and you're told when it's not doing the things that it should be doing. Taking care of certain processes, setting them and allowing them to happen.
Automation is a very used buzzword at the moment around the place. The important thing is you need to automate as much in your business as you can because if you don't, your competitors will. And automation is happening all the time and innovation and technology is happening all the time.
Are You Scared of Technology?
People think, 'I'm scared of technology,' but you go back only a few years ago, back 150 years and refrigeration wasn't around. No one's scared of fridges now and no one's scared of microwaves now, no one's scared of a lot of things that we just take for granted. All these things are automating processes within our own home. We're able to have things washed in a dishwasher instead of slaving over a sink. So all these little things speed up your process and there's just a lot of automation happening at the moment to speed up all your processes.
Automation shouldn't stop at work, though. Automation should happen at home. And so ultimately you have more time to spend with your family and your friends because we've only got that once on this earth and that's our time. Everything else should be able to be automated.
Automation in Business
Dorks Delivered does a lot of IT stuff, but a few years ago, we found out that more and more businesses were getting us in to automate their processes, hence Business Efficiency Experts being born. What we do is we try and automate and document.
Business Efficiency Experts was born out of the need to have businesses automate their processes better, and that can be through removing repetition. That can be through better documentation processes and making sure you're doing a task once. Because you're doing it once and it can be repeated a hundred times or a thousand times, that's awesome if you're not doing it. Automation can be just documenting the processes down.
So if you're having a problem with a staffing member leaving, you can make sure that the onboarding process is much faster. You then are able to have them on board and have them profitable in a significantly faster time.
It can be removing or creating accountabilities and removing any sort of repetition. So anything that is going to speed up your processes in business is giving it elements of automation.
Automation at Home
This goes for our home as well. My home's very automated. When I go to bed, I can call out to Alexa to turn off all the lights, shut the gates, lock the door, turn the sauna off, turn the pond waterfall off or whatever else is happening around the place and make sure everything's locked down. So very easy.
You don't have to sort of be in the warm blanket reading a book and then have to have a fight over who's the one who gets out to turn the light off. So it removes arguments, automation removes arguments with your partner.
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Automating Since 2000s
I started automating things 19 years ago and I didn't even realise at that stage that it's what I was doing. I was going through a process where I was earning only $6 to make these number plate bracket things. And it was taking me an hour and a half to make them. I got this task, and as a 12-year-old, now you know how old I am, as a 12-year-old, I was making these number plate brackets, an hour and a half for $6 so I was earning $4 an hour. Not very good money but more than every other 12-year-old that was out there could.
In hindsight and looking back, it was child labour, but I'd chosen to do it. So I guess it's okay. Now, these number plate brackets, I used Lego, and I don't know if you know Technic Lego and robotic Lego and stuff like that. I saved up some money and built a cit that allowed for me to automate the process of creating these number plate brackets. And as a 13-year-old I was creating 10 of them in an hour. So as a 13-year-old, I was earning $60 an hour from home in mum and dad's garage. So that's more than what most 20-year-olds were earning and a lot of people were earning, as a 13-year-old.
When I got to 14 and nine months, I registered my first ABN number. I then had it as a registered business, so it was legit. I then from there started to have my friends come over and work for me and work with me and had the rate increased to $10.60 per number per bracket. That meant that I was getting $106 per hour of work that was being done and then I was outsourcing that to other people to do it.
Now, at that stage, I was just trying to make the process as quick as possible. I didn't really look at what I was doing as automation, but it was absolutely automation, and that's just where my love for automation has grown from there.
Want to Improve Your Business?
There's always a way to improve your business. I've automated a lot of things. My podcast is edited down and it's transcribed, and from the transcription, it ends up on my blog. That will then be posted on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. So that's in a doing all my marketing for me, it goes through a search engine optimizer that puts in all the heading tags and everything else, so then I've got content that's going up on the Web.
Because my time is valuable and all your time is valuable. How much would you say your time is worth per hour? Let's have $150 an hour roughly. Every task that you do, whether it's at home mowing the lawn or you're out and about shopping, you should be putting that number as whatever the number you've put in your head. You need to have a dollar figure put on it, and not just for the time that you're spending, when you're earning money, but for the time that you're spending all the time.
If you go and mow the lawn at home and it takes you two hours to mow the lawn, that's $300 that you missed that on there.
If you can get someone else to mow the lawn for $50 and they're using better equipment, faster equipment, that's time that you can be spending on your business or with your family. That's more valuable time.
My dad's an engineer and one of the things that I saw him doing was fixing a DVD player, a $25 DVD player. It took him two hours to fix. Now, that is absolutely stupid, but he was learning and seeing how it all works. So if there's a learning experience then it's a different story. And that comes down to, again, automating what you're doing. If you enjoy learning, then do the task. But don't continue to do the task if there's something better that you should be spending your money or time... better things that you should be spending time and money on.
What Can You Automate?
So what would you say you'd like to be able to automate in your business? Some things you can automate:
• Social Postings
• Sending Emails to New Connections
• Sending and Receiving Documents
• Date Collection
A lot of the things that you want to do are able to be done. It's just a time thing to be able to do them for most people, I'd imagine. Yeah? So for me, one of the biggest things that I did in my business was automating every single task that I did and documenting every task that I did and then finding something to do everything that I did so I could go traveling.
I went to America last year and stayed there for about three months. I didn't have to touch a computer, anything to do with the business, which was awesome. So that was my big a-ha, champagne moment in automation, being able to really step away from the business. A lot of the time, we put ourselves into these businesses that we buy and we sometimes don't really buy into a business. We buy into a job. We've bought into our position in business. And that isn't a good position to be in because most of it's buying for more money or more freedom. And a lot of the time you end up with less of both. And the only real way out of that is by automating things.
And automation isn't something you need to be choosing, do I do or don't I do it? It's, if you don't do it, you will be left behind. Because if you didn't have a microwave and you didn't have an oven now, it'd be very difficult to cook your food on a fire out in the backyard.
We were contacted by a government agency in what we've been doing with some of the different things we've been putting around the web, and they've asked us to help businesses out, to automate their businesses. And they've actually reduced down the rate of what we charge out to $40 an hour to be able to help small businesses automate their processes. So if there's anything you ever see that needs to be automated at that sort of price, yeah, there's no reason why you shouldn't be getting someone to at least look over your systems and see what needs to be automated. Most of the time, with fresh eyes and another perspective, you'll find that there's always more and more that can be automated. It's always great to get someone to come into your business and see how your process is working and how everything is going together. Because as the old quote goes, with the NASA spending millions of dollars to develop a pen that works in space and the Russians used a pencil. So it's a just a perspective thing. that didn't actually happen, but it's still a fun quote. So yeah, so that's, I guess, the main thing is to make sure you're automating everything in business.
The Final Word
The one big obstacle everyone's trying to overcome with all these message bots and things is automating the sincere personal touch. I can't automate what I'm doing right now because the feeling and the heart that I have for what I do in my business can't be seen through an automated message. So you can't automate the personal touch, but you can automate everything else around it. You can't automate passion and the drive you have as a person, but you can remove that requirement. Say Google, the face of Google, the face of Amazon, the face... none of these big companies have a face. Apple had a face but then PC killed him. Do you get it? Yeah. It's a terrible joke. I still think we're all operating a small business. We need to be able to automate, but we need to also keep that personal touch. You don't want to remove that. It's one of the best things you've got in a small business. That's what Vistaprint don't have!
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