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Ask the Entrepreneurs: 10 Tasks That Aren’t Automated but Should Be

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Ask the Entrepreneurs: 10 Tasks That Aren’t Automated but Should Be

Ask The Entrepreneurs is a regular series where members of the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general.

Here’s the question posed in this edition of Ask The Entrepreneurs:

What task isn’t automated (yet!) that you wish would be in your business?

1. Industry Research

Andrew Schrage

    A significant portion of my day involves researching what is going on in my industry, as well as what the competition is writing about. I wish there was a way to automate this process. I know of a few apps that help with this, but I’ve yet to incorporate them into my workday.

    Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

    2. Meetings

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    Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer

      I want a universally accepted ability to automatically schedule meetings and then send confirmation reminders the day before. Ideally, this smart piece of software would intelligently categorize your existing meetings so that you can look at the data to see what you are focusing on versus what you should be focusing on. In fact, if you do this, I’ll happily introduce you to VCs!

      Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer, AirPR

      3. Partnerships

      Liam Martin

        Right now we run partnerships in a completely manual way, and it takes up quite a lot of our time to investigate them, explore possible avenues and run pilots with possibly companies. I would love to automate this process, but since it’s so dependent upon people, I don’t see how we could figure this out while still respecting the fantastic companies that contact us to work together.

        Liam Martin, Staff.com

        4. Searchable Libraries of Content

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        Alexandra Levit 2

          I’d love to have all of the content I’ve ever published housed in one place with easy search capabilities. I’ve probably written over a million words in the last several years, and to be able to automatically pull ideas for use in current projects would be invaluable.

          Alexandra Levit, Inspiration at Work

          5. Hiring

          Brett Farmiloe

            Hiring good people takes a significant amount of time. I’m not sure if you could ever automate the process of finding the perfect person for a role, but I’d love it if the right candidate magically appeared in an automated fashion.

            Brett Farmiloe, Digital Marketing Agency

            6. Inventory Management

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            Aaron Schwartz

              We have a ton of inventory — at least 100 units across 150 unique styles! On a monthly basis, we need to count this inventory, which is a major pain. A bigger issue, however, is that the lack of insight into our inventory means that we sometimes miscalculate when we need to reorder products, which creates rush fees from our factory.

              Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

              7. Reports and Proposals

              Phil-Laboon

                One of the most tedious tasks for our business is creating unique, enticing proposals with valuable insights. It would be extremely advantageous to have an all-inclusive reporting solution — an all-in-one tool that provides all the insights we need instead of having to use multiple tracking tools, chart generators, image editors, document layout tools, etc. to generate reports.

                Phil Laboon, Eyeflow Internet Marketing

                8. Client Background Research

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                Patrick Conley

                  We like to have a solid background report of clients so that we can speak intelligently on discovery calls. The Internet delivers tons of data, but sifting through and finding the pieces that are relevant and accurate can be a tedious process. It would be great to have a more automated solution, but there’s some serious automated intelligence that needs to be developed first!

                  Patrick Conley, Automation Heroes

                  9. Follow-up Reminders

                  doreen-bloch

                    I wish there would be a reliable tool for automated reminders to follow up with clients and partners. Right now, I use Boomerang and other email plugins to set reminders, but it’s not fully automated, so it takes time to set up. An automated system would free up time for setting up reminders and enable us to focus on just doing the follow-ups that drive business value.

                    Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.

                    10. Task Management

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                    Manpreet Singh

                      If my team and I weren’t so busy recording what we’ve accomplished, we’d definitely accomplish more. Basecamp currently gives summaries of on-platform updates, which is nice. But it’s not organized. So, team members manually go to one of several Excel sheets and update it with details of their tasks. That could be automated with a “record” button syncing computer or mobile activities to Excel.

                      Manpreet Singh, Seva Call

                      More by this author

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                      Last Updated on August 25, 2021

                      Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

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                      Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

                      As a recruiter, I have met and interviewed hundreds of candidates who have no idea who they are.

                      Without a personal brand, candidates struggle to answer the question: “tell me about yourself—who are you?” They have no idea about who they are, what their strengths are, and how they can add value to the company. They present their CV’s believing that their CV is the key to their career success. In some ways, your CV still has its use. However, in today’s job market, you need more than a CV to stand out in a crowd.

                      According to Celinne Da Costa:[1]

                      “Personal brand is essentially your golden ticket to networking with the right people, getting hired for a dream job, or building an influential business.” She believes that “a strong personal brand allows you to stand out in an oversaturated marketplace by exposing desired audiences to your vision, skillset, and personality in a way that is strategically aligned with your career goals.”

                      A personal brand opens up your world to so many more career opportunities that you would never have been exposed to with just your CV.

                      What Is Your Personal Brand?

                      “Personal branding is how you distinctively market your uniqueness.” —Bernard Kelvin Clive

                      Today, the job market is very competitive and tough. Having a great CV will only let you go so far because everyone has a CV, but no one else has your distinct personal brand! It is your personal brand that differentiates you from everyone else and that is what people buy—you.

                      Your personal brand is your mark on the world. It is how people you interact with and the world see you. It is your legacy—it is more important than a business brand because your personal brand lasts forever.

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                      I have coached people who have very successful careers, and they come to me because they have suddenly found that they are not getting the opportunities or having the conversations that would them to their next role. They are having what I call a “career meltdown,” all because they have no personal brand.

                      A personal brand helps you become conscious of your differences and your uniqueness. It allows you to position yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the pack, especially among other potential job applicants.

                      Don’t get me wrong, having a great CV and a great LinkedIn profile is important. However, there are a few steps that you have to take to have a CV and LinkedIn profile that is aligned to who you are, the value you offer to the market, and the personal guarantee that you deliver results.

                      Building your personal brand is about strategically, creatively, and professionally presenting what makes you, you. Knowing who you are and the value you bring to the table enables you to be more informed, agile, and adaptable to the changing dynamic world of work. This is how you can avoid having a series of career meltdowns.

                      Your Personal Brand Is Essential for Your Career Success

                      In her article, Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever, Caroline Castrillon outlines key reasons why a personal brand is essential for career success.

                      According to Castrillon,[2]

                      “One reason is that it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.”

                      The first thing I do as a recruiter when I want to check out a candidate or coaching client is to look them up on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your digital footprint is the window that highlights to the world who you are. When you have no control over how you want to be seen, you are making a big mistake because you are leaving it up to someone else to make a judgment for you as to who you are.

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                      As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

                      In her book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes about the importance of having a personal brand and her journey to defining her personal brand. She wrote that:

                      “if you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

                      When you have a personal brand, you are in control. You know exactly what people will say about you when you leave the room.

                      The magic of a personal brand is that gives you control over how you want to be seen in the world. Your confidence and self-belief enable you to leverage opportunities and make informed decisions about your career and your future. You no longer experience the frustrations of a career meltdown or being at a crossroads not knowing what to do next with your career or your life. With a personal brand, you have focus, clarity, and a strategy to move forward toward future success.

                      Creating your personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and self-reflection. You will be expected to step outside of your comfort zone not once, but many times.

                      The good news is that the more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the more you will like being there. Being outside of your comfort zone is where you can test the viability of and fine-tune your personal brand.

                      5 Key Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

                      These five steps will help you create a personal brand that will deliver you the results you desire with your career and in life.

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                      1. Set Your Personal Goals

                      What is it that you want to do in the next five years? What will your future self be doing in the next five to ten years? What is important to you? If you can answer these questions, then you are on the right path. If not, then you have to start thinking about them.

                      2. Create Your Unique Value Proposition

                      Create your unique value proposition by asking yourself these four questions:

                      1. What are your personality features? What benefit do you offer people?
                      2. Who are you and why do people enjoy working with you?
                      3. What do you do and what do people want you to do for them? How do you solve their problems?
                      4. What makes you different from others like you?

                      The answers to these questions will give you the information you need to create your professional story, which is the key step to creating your personal brand.

                      3. Write Your Professional Story

                      Knowing who you are, what you want, and the unique value you offer is essential to you creating your professional story. People remember stories. Your personal story incorporates your value proposition and tells people who you are and what makes you unique. This is what people will remember about you.

                      4. Determine Which Platforms Will Support Your Personal Brand

                      Decide which social media accounts and online platforms will best represent your brand and allow you to share your voice. In a professional capacity, having a LinkedIn profile and a CV that reflects your brand is key to your positioning in relation to role opportunities. People will be connecting with you because they will like the story you are telling.

                      5. Become Recognized for Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

                      A great way for you to promote yourself is by sharing knowledge and helping others. This is where you prove you know your stuff and you gain exposure for doing so. You can do this through social media, writing, commenting, video, joining professional groups, networking, etc. Find your own style and uniqueness and use it to attract clients, the opportunities, or the jobs you desire.

                      The importance of having a personal brand is not going to go away. In fact, it is the only way where you can stand out and be unique in a complex changing world of work. If you don’t have a personal brand, someone will do it for you. If you let this happen, you have no control and you may not like the story they create.

                      Standing out from others takes time and investment. Most people cannot make the change by themselves, and this is where engaging a personal brand coach is a viable option to consider.

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                      As a personal brand coach, working with my clients to create their personal brand is my passion. I love the fact that we can work together to create a personal story that defines exactly what people will say when you leave the room.

                      Other People’s Stories

                      Listening to other people’s stories is a great way to learn. In his article, 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding, Rafael Dos Santos presents the best Ted Talks where speakers share their stories about the “why,” “what,” and “how” of personal branding.((GuidedPR: 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding))

                      Take some time out to listen to these speakers sharing their stories and thoughts about personal branding. You will definitely learn so much about how you can start your journey of defining yourself and taking control of your professional and personal life.

                      Your personal brand, without a doubt, is your secret weapon to your career success. As Michelle Obama said,

                      “your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”

                      So, go own your story. Go on the journey to create your personal brand that defines who you are, highlights your uniqueness, and the value you offer to the world.

                      Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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