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The 3 Telltale Signs That It's Time for You to Automate Being busy doesn't always equal being successful.

By Jennifer Spencer Edited by Heather Wilkerson

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Rowan Jordan | Getty Images

Have you ever seen other entrepreneurs and their agencies scale with ease, and you wonder how they're doing it? They seem to have the same size team that you do and don't seem to have a "secret sauce" to their techniques or what they're offering to their clients. And yet, they're bringing on more and more clients and reaching higher monthly revenue goals seemingly every week. Here's a secret: they're automating. And as much as automation is a "secret weapon," it's something any entrepreneur or agency can adopt in as little as an afternoon.

Automation refers to the outsourcing of tasks to new team members or technological resources. Since it's a brand new frontier, many entrepreneurs wonder if they're ready for that next step, especially with the desire for control and keeping everything in the business "in house." But the truth is, it's likely that you've been due for some automation for a long time, but haven't known that it's time to get started. Here are four telltale signs that you could benefit from bringing automation into your business.

Related: How Automation Intelligence Can Improve Your Business in Good and Bad Times

1. You feel like you're constantly doing busy work

How overwhelmed are you currently feeling? Do you feel like your to-do list is always 50 items long and counting? Many entrepreneurs falsely equate being busy with being successful. Here's a question for you. Is the work you're doing actually pushing the needle forward with your business goals? Or do you feel like a hamster on a treadmill, constantly on calls and emails with little payoff?

Here's a secret. You don't actually need to be doing all the busy work you're doing. And, you don't have to hire a full-time assistant to take the load off your plate, either. This is where automation comes in. It can come in the form of a project management tool, an AI assistant to handle your emails and scheduling calls, or automated email follow-ups. Imagine how much time you'll save.

Start determining how many of your tasks can be automated by conducting a time audit. Using an app like Toggle, determine how much of your day is eaten up by doing tasks that others can do, especially if these are "little tasks" that keep you flitting across the surface of your work instead of going deep.

2. It's been a while since you've done creative and effective collaborative work

Remember the days before your business got going when you'd always be in the creative flow? Whether you were building client packages, a landing page, or a social media design, you felt like you had plenty of mental space to brainstorm new ideas and build. When we're constantly inundated with smaller to-do list items, it becomes challenging to unlock that same creativity, which can negatively impact your business. Business owners that automate know that what makes them successful is the vision and creativity of the founders, so they automate or outsource whatever they can to free up their mental space for the big, directional, and vision-based projects. That's why recruiting a motivated team is so important. Team collaboration is key to performance, and effective communication helps to empower the team to do more faster, together. Ineffective collaboration can have the opposite effect. In this case study, released by ClickMeeting, they explored the impact of introducing better tools for interactive group learning sessions, aligning the culture, and helping teams collaborate better, which has become vital in today's #WFH environment.

In the case study, ClickMeeting provides insight into how international gaming company G2A used their product for managing online meetings that encouraged idea-sharing, effective collaboration, and strategy discussions amongst the team. The G2A team witnessed a big jump in productivity.

The interactive group learning sessions enabled G2A to connect their teams so that they were able to collaborate better including sharing projects, documents, and content, and asking for real-time advice or input from their teammates. As a result, the company's leadership team was able to automate their tasks and align corporate culture, ensuring everyone is on the same page helping them accomplish more.

Related: Automation Is Becoming a Business Imperative: Don't Wait Until It's Too Late

3. You're ready to scale

More time in the flow state contributes to scaling, too — especially if you've been wanting to dream up ways to do it right! If you have big visions and goals for these next few years for your business or agency and its ability to scale (with both revenue and clients), that's a surefire sign that you should use automation.

James Dhillon, the CEO of Automaters, shared with Yahoo Finance that "If you're still using human capital for the tasks that can be automated, you're eventually going to get phased out by the next generation of smart agency owners." He firmly believes that one of the biggest mistakes founders can make is trying to be a jack of all trades. We're spread too thin when we try to do it all. And, a new wave of agency owners who are using automation is scaling and sweeping up clients and testimonials in the process. To ensure you're on their playing field, consider beginning to automate today.

Contrary to many beliefs, you don't always have to be "hustling" with busy work to be a successful entrepreneur. Many successful entrepreneurs have simply mastered the art of outsourcing and automating. They know what they don't have to spend time doing, which is making their lives easier and their businesses more successful. Convinced yet?
Jennifer Spencer

CEO of Energent Media

Jennifer Spencer is the founder of Energent Media, a digital marketing firm for tech startups. She is passionate about helping brands leverage content to share their stories with the world.

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