Zapier – How to Automate Tasks and Stop Wasting Time and Money – Episode 73

Zapier

Interested to find out how automation can save you hours and hours of work on manual tasks per month? My guest on the Business & Life Conversations Podcast today, James Rose from Content Snare, is an absolute genius when it comes to this topic. He’s going to tell us about the core benefits of automation, give specific examples of automations and his thoughts on things that shouldn’t be automated. This episode will give you an idea of how you can free up more time in your schedule and help you focus on the most important things in life and business.

Important Links Mentioned in the Show:

James Rose Website

James Rose YouTube

Zapier Course

Zapier Website

Business Masterclass – The Ultimate 4-Step Framework for Creating a Sustainable and Profitable Business

Australian Business Collaborative Facebook Group

Angela Henderson Website

Angela Henderson Active Business Facebook Group

Angela Henderson Facebook Business Page

Angela Henderson Instagram

Prefer to read Zapier – How to Automate Tasks and Stop Wasting Time and Money? Here’s the transcript:

ANGELA:

You’re listening to the Business and Life Conversations Podcast with Angela Henderson, Episode 73.

Hey there, you’re listening to the Business and Life Conversations Podcast. My name is Angela Henderson and on this show, we talk about improving your business, life or both. By having amazing and rich conversations with brilliant guests who will inspire you and who will give you tips and tricks to help you grow both in life and in business.

Well, hey there and welcome back to another awesome episode of the Business and Life Conversations Podcast. I am your host Angela, from Angela Henderson Consulting where I am a Business Consultant and Coach helping women in business to develop the foundational framework and strategy they need to grow sustainable and profitable businesses.

Now, have you ever considered how many manual tasks you’re doing in your business every single day, every single week, every single month? You kind of get the picture. Have you ever sat down and honestly worked out exactly what this works out to in minutes and hours? Because, this, my friends, affects your overall profitability and your effective hourly rate. If you haven’t sat down and figured this out, then I suggest you do so. Because when you do, you’re going to want to know all about automation and how you can implement this into your business. Because seriously people, we all need as much free time as we can get to not only work on growing our business but also being with our family and taking care of ourselves.

So today, I am thrilled, and when I say thrilled, I’m beyond thrilled to have a very, very, very good friend on the show. In fact, this guy is like a little brother to me; the little brother I never had. He makes me laugh, he’s beyond filled with knowledge and he’s just truly, truly a gem to be around. That amazing human I’m speaking of is James Rose from Content Snare and jimmyrose.me.

And on today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about one of my favourite, favourite topics; and that’s an inside joke; James will know. Alright. But what that means is that we’re going to talk about what does automation mean in your business, why should people care about automation and what are those key benefits that you’re going to see in your business? Also going to talk about what Zapier is and what that’s all about, what things could be automated in your business, if there’s anything that shouldn’t be automated? And also, we’re going to talk about how people can start, such as yourself, today, on automating things within your business to free up your time. So get ready and buckle in because this is an episode you’re not going to want to miss.

Welcome to the show, James.

JAMES:

About time you had me on.

ANGELA:

I mean, yes, it has been a work in progress. I mean, let’s be honest, one of my episode, whatever, at this stage, and we’ve been talking about this since pretty much when I was thinking about having a podcast. So I’m super excited to finally have you on board.

JAMES:

Yes, it has been ages and I am very excited to be here.

ANGELA:

So, yes. Now, you’ve just come back, at the time of recording, you’ve just come back from the United States. You were over at Inbound. How was that?

JAMES:

It was intense. Let’s say, most conferences I go to; maybe 100 people or so, maybe a couple hundred. This one was 25,000 so it was kind of ridiculous. It was more of a party, I think, than a conference. But yes, it was fun. 

ANGELA:

Fun. What was your key takeaway?

JAMES:

Oh, I didn’t have any takeaways. I just met people and drank a lot.

ANGELA:

Well that, and we do know you love a good beer, which leads me to my first question. One of the things that I like to do so that my audience gets to know a little bit about the guests that we have on the podcast is I ask them one question. And that one question I’m asking you is what is your all-time favourite beer because I know you’re a little bit of a beer connoisseur? Is that the right word? You love a good, craft beer; you rate the craft beers, I know, on this little app that you have. 

Because James and I hang out quite regularly; we go to a lot of conferences together, we’ve known each other for; it’s only three years but it feels much longer than three years. So I know you love a good craft beer, so what is your go-to craft beer?

JAMES:

So instead of beer connoisseur, I actually prefer the term beer wanker.

ANGELA:

Okay, beer wanker. Yes, perfect.

JAMES:

But, you know what? Right now, I guess it’s winning because of recency, I actually had a beer from Trillium Brewery in Boston while I was there for Inbound. It’s called Danish Guy and it was a 14.3% stealth with almond, cinnamon and vanilla and it was freaking amazing.

ANGELA:

Okay. I’ll take your word for it. So, I’m assuming that was like again, obviously a dark beer?

JAMES:

Yes, super dark.

ANGELA:

Super dark, alright. And 14%, you can’t go wrong with that either.

JAMES:

Yes, you can only have like maybe half a glass.

ANGELA:

So obviously, you can tell if you’re not already, that James and I, we’re really good friends. He’s like a brother to me, so I’m glad to have him on the show. He loves a good beer. But James, tell us a little bit more about what you do, a little bit more about your business background.

JAMES:

Right. So our main thing has always been software, and I say our because I’ve had a business partner since, I want to say 2010, I think that was only incorporated. But yes, we started a software company, we’ve built three different software products since then. One of them was sold in 2017 to a Silicon Valley-based investment firm and we’re in the process of selling another one now. And now, we have a product for web designers and they use it to collect website content and information from their clients and it’s called Content Snare.

But more recently, I’ve had a lot of people interested in automation because I am pretty obsessed with automating different parts of my business, mostly because I like being lazy and I want more time. [Crosstalk 00:05:47] Yes, and I sort of [inaudible 05:53] a lot. I talk about automation and I had a bunch of people ask me for help, so that’s kind of where I’m at right now. I’m in the middle of recording a course. I have a YouTube channel and I’m trying to teach people about automation.

ANGELA:

Which is great because what I love about you, James, is you’re very practical, very hands-on, and we’re going to talk about automation all today, which is great. Because I think a lot of businesses, especially those for starting out, they’re trying to do everything in everything. They are wanting more time because who doesn’t want more time, especially when you’re in that really early phase of business. But their brain is about to explode because there’s so much that they have to already know that automation I feel kind of gets pushed to the side to when people are almost at the point of breaking.

And so, really that’s why I wanted to have you on the podcast because I want to start planting seeds for people, like you can start automating from day one, you just have to be educated about what it is. And I guess that leads into kind of our first question is for the purposes of today and just in general, can you talk a little bit more about; collectively, what does automation mean for business?

JAMES:

Well, it means having more time and stuff happening without you doing it. Just quickly, though; you mentioned like people hitting a breaking point with automation and it’s funny because; funny you mentioned that because that’s actually what got me obsessed with automation in the first place is I had a point where I was trying to do too much stuff myself and hit like an absolute breaking point because I was like a terrible person to be around, I was stressed all the time and then I actually kind of went the other, like fully pendulum swing me out of the way and just got totally obsessed with automation, which is kind of what started this journey.

But to answer that question, like, to me, it just means exactly that. Like getting time back; stuff happening without me doing it. Like, I was actually writing a sales page the other day and I wanted to sort of articulate how much time I tend to save with automation and I looked in my Zapier account and it had run about 9,000 tasks in a month. And if you assume that’s 30 seconds per task, that’s like time saved, that adds up to like 75 hours a month of things that just happened without me like touching anything at all. So I think that’s the easiest way to describe what automation means for business. Like, everyone can do with another 75 hours month.

ANGELA:

Gosh, absolutely. And again, for those out there that are now having heart failure, alright, you’re not going to obviously get to 9,000 automation at the beginning. We’re going to take it slow, we’re going to talk you through it. But once James; because I’ve known him for so long; kind of found that automation rhythm about what he could automate, and we’ll talk about that a little later on; and how he can automate, he just been almost like an automation ninja because he sees the benefits. And so, that’s great.

And one of those key benefits for anyone out there, whether or not James loves to skateboard, more time to skateboard, more time to be with his kids, more time to travel; whatever that is for you, no one will ever say NO to being able to have more free time on their hands. So I guess that goes into my next question is, okay, we’ve got the free time but why should people care about automation? What are some of those core benefits other than just say time?

JAMES:

Well, I guess the main benefit for me is exactly what you just covered, it’s more time to do other stuff. But that doesn’t necessarily mean skateboarding and drinking beer or travelling or whatever. But it also means productivity; productivity is a big thing for me because that’s almost like time that I can reinvest back into the business. I’m not just taking that time and then going and running around like a moppet, that’s now time that I use to actually grow my business. Instead of doing process or like menial repetitive tasks, I can be trying to get more clients and actually growing the business; so productivity is the big one.

One for me is headspace. That’s a really big benefit for me, because; and when I say headspace, I mean, it’s like the knowledge that something is getting done without my input. It’s actually kind of helps keep me sane. Like, I remember I had another breaking point is when I was at a friend’s house hanging out one day and it was a workday. Technically, it was like a Tuesday, right? But because I have a business, so I thought I’d be able to take that day off because we’re supposed to be out to work when we want. And instead, I was just like freaking out all day that I wasn’t working and I was checking my phone every five minutes and it was just like kind of an anxious feeling and it just sucked. And that was another big turning point for me where I was like, and that’s what automation has helped me sort of overcome is like knowing things are happening when I’m not there. It kind of calms that feeling a little bit for me.

ANGELA

Yes. And because again, we all have that feeling at some stage, it will just be different for each of us; that level of anxiety. And so, not only with the headspace, would you also say, through this process, you’ve had to learn almost to, not find yourself again; that’s kind of way far out there, but what I’m saying is like being able to let go and know that it’s going to be okay. So you talked about productivity, you talked about time, you talked about headspace, but also, I guess, relying on; and we’ll talk about Zapier here in a minute about allowing other people, hence, the automation to do other things for your business, like letting go, I guess.

JAMES:

Yes. And it’s kind of the same as when you hire someone. It’s that same feeling that you need to sort of like let go needing to do everything. But, I mean, to me, it’s a little bit different because with automation, I know it’s going to get done right. It’s not so much like, I think people need to let go when they’re hiring someone and let other people take on that work. With automation, once it’s set up, it’s actually, there’s no human error, right? Like, it just does what you tell it to do and it keeps doing it. 

ANGELA:

But for me, I know, because again, James has helped me with automation to some degree in my business. I’m not fully anywhere as a ninja as James. But I know for me though, I still know the automation stuff is running but I still am like, is it working? Did this happen? I still have this because I haven’t learned to fully let go yet. Do you know what I mean?

JAMES:

Yes, right.

ANGELA:

But you have. You just let it rock and roll rock and it rock and roll. So again, for me, because I’m still quite new to the whole automation; I do newsletters and all that. But the types of automation that James will talk about here in a minute. And so, for me, I’ve had a hard time letting go because I’m a bit of a  perfectionist, OCD, I like to control it, going, “But I’m not in control anymore.” So that to me has been a bit of a process. And so, for those out there, too, just as a reminder that as you start to do this, each of you will go through your own individual process because it’ll be different for each of you. Again, if you’ve got tendencies like me, it’ll be different. If you got James’ type of personality, it will be different, etc. So it is important.

JAMES:

Hold on. I feel like you’re going to struggle with self-driving cars. You can’t let go.

ANGELA:

Legit. I’ll still be like driving a horse and cart, if necessary. I will not be good with it.

JAMES:

I still; I struggle with that concept even though I trust computers or anything, I like being in that kind of space for almost my whole life. I trust that things are going to work once they’re working to an extent. I still struggle with self-driving cars, like that concept to me is like so…

ANGELA:

Dude, like it freaks me out. But again, though it will work itself out here and it’s not. You’re also really big and we won’t talk too much because I have a whole another podcast with you about AI; you’re really big about AI; I know how much you love it. And yes, the world is changing and I think that’s another reason why having you on today to talk about these automations is that, if you don’t start to embrace automation, I believe, in some way, shape or form, your business will start to become stagnant to some degree. Because, like you said, there’s only so many hours in a day, and you, if you can get 75 hours back, your business is obviously able to grow quite exponentially because of the free time like you talked about to be the CEO of your business, to work on growing of your business. So again, automation is super, super powerful.

Now, one of the platforms that you’re really big in using when it comes to creating these automations, I guess, and this is what I guess I think it’s important we start to unpack it for people is; I say Zapier, you say Zapier; is that right? 

JAMES:

Yes. Well, I used to say Zapier as well but I’ve made an effort to change to Zapier because that’s actually what they want to be called because you create zaps in Zapier.

ANGELA:

Yes. So tell us a little bit about that. So obviously, like it’s a platform, correct? And what does it actually do so that the businesses out there can start trying to formulate in their head what this looks like?

JAMES:

Okay. So Zapier is just one of many automation tools out there. It’s probably one of the biggest, if not the biggest for, I guess, workflow automation or connecting different apps together. Like, that’s the main thing it does; it connects different things together. And the easiest way to describe what it does is, “When this happens, do something else.” So, like when a new contact comes into your CRM, add them to a Spreadsheet, for example. So it’s like a, “When X happens in one tool, do Y in another tool.” And that’s pretty much the bottom end, I guess like the high-level view of it, and that might sound kind of simplistic but there’s so many different things you can do with it that I’ve just kind of discovered over the course of just playing with it over years, right?

ANGELA:

Give us some examples; give us like five different examples of things that could be automated using Zapier.

JAMES:

Cool. So one of my favourite that I’m using at the moment is to basically when someone signs up for our software; so they actually sign up like as a paying user, they put their credit card in. I then trigger a to-do in an app called Bonjoro. So you’re familiar with Bonjoro, right?

ANGELA:

I am, but just tell the audience so that we all know.

JAMES:

So Bonjoro is a tool that allows you to send personalized videos to people and it’s awesome because it’s just an app that lives on your phone and you open it up, you get a notification, you open it up, you literally just hit record and start talking and hit stop and send and that’s everything you had to do to send a personalized video to somebody. So that process is so fast; it is just, I guess like the leverage or the return on investment for that is amazing because you’re spending about 30 seconds hitting record and talking to a phone and they’ve received the personal video. And this is, I guess, a good highlight of how automation can combine with personalization and human to human marketing, as you would say.

ANGELA:

Yes, you know I love it. And exactly right, again, the fact that it’s so quick, all of us have our mobiles at the tip of our fingertips that again, you can add that human element, but there’s also that element of automation. So tell us how it works. So someone signs up for your software and then, it zaps it to Bonjoro and then you get the notification to say, “Hey, Angela just signed up for Content Snare. Now, you need to create the video.”

JAMES:

Yes. And then, like literally just hit record, talk to the phone and hit send and then Bonjoro picks up from that point and it all send them the email and if they don’t open it or watch it, it will follow up again in three days and that all just happens without me having to do anything. So, another example that I love is identifying some of our best leads. So, there’s a thing called lead scoring or lead enrichment, which is basically finding out more information about your leads using an online service. 

So for example, there’s a tool called Lead Score by Zapier and you can add this for free into any zap that you have in your account and it will; just based on an email address, it looks up their database and finds out whatever they know about that person. So it might be that they work for a company that has 20 employees, for example. And for us, that’s a good metric that that person will be a good client; so the more employees they have generally, they’re a bigger business and they’re staying to get more value out of our products. So then, I can filter based on that. 

So my zap now says every time someone signs up, look up that person and see how many staff they have. And if it’s more than 20, it actually sends an item into my to-do-list; I’m using Trello, but it doesn’t really matter; Zapier connect with lots of stuff. It drops in an item in my to-do-list to say, “Hey can you personally reach out to this person and find out what help they need to get setup?” So I can give them that sort of personal experience, I guess, because they’re more likely to sign up for our tool and they’re going to be a high-value customer. So that’s another awesome one.

ANGELA:

That’s pretty amazing.

JAMES:

Yes.

ANGELA:

Yes, what’s another one? For people, say, starting out in more; in the online space. Like, I know one that we use is if someone signs up for an email or someone signs up to our Facebook group, The Australian Business Collaborative, and they’ve given us their email, we then zap that into our ActiveCampaign, which is our CRM. And then, we then have ActiveCampaign picks it up and then we’ll run an automation to anyone that joins the Facebook group. 

That’s another one that’s been great that we don’t even have to go in there manually, enter everyone’s email addresses anymore; so that’s been super helpful. Any other ones for maybe people just like starting out? Let’s just say from an e-commerce business, what’s something that they could zap or automate from an e-commerce platform? 

JAMES:

I love that you’ve gone very specific with e-commerce there, but I mean, there’s so many things in e-commerce. Like, if people are like manually printing shipping labels, for example; like, I haven’t done this but I know it’s possible to integrate with services that create your shipping labels. So you could; if you’re using an e-commerce system that doesn’t create those, you could catch a new order in Zapier and then send it over to whatever system you’re using.

ANGELA:

Perfect.

JAMES:

It’s just anything where there’s like double entry, that’s a really big category of automation, I guess, like opportunities for automation. So that’s classic double entry, right? Like, you have to take the information out of one system and copy and paste it into like a shipping label; whether that’s a Word Document or something, it’s just time; wasted time that doesn’t need to be wasted. It can be automated very, very easily.

ANGELA:

Fantastic. And those of you that are new hearing Zapier for the first time, I strongly encourage you to go; and that’s z-a-p-i-e-r.com and have a look around because if you’ve got Shopify, if you’ve got a platform, maybe like Teachable, if you’ve got ConvertKit, if you’ve got ActiveCampaign, if you’ve got; like, literally there’s that many platforms that you can be zapping things from one to like Google, Gmail for example; zapping that into, say, Paypal. Like, Paypal from Stripe. There’s so many different combinations, that there’d be thousands and thousands, would there be not, James?

JAMES:

Yes, and Zapier actually makes it pretty easy to find ideas, right? So if you go to zapier.com and hit the explore tab at the top, you can literally just type in all that like maybe 2 or 3 apps that you’re using and then it gives you some popular zap ideas of what other people have done. Generally, they’re pretty basic but it’s a good place to start. Like, over time, you can get super, super advance in Zapier and do a lot of different stuff in one like zap, I guess you would call it, as zap is just another word for workflow. But if you just go to the explore tab and start finding the apps you’re already using, it’ll just give you some ideas and that’s a really good place to start.

ANGELA:

And be sure you take your wine or anything like that because, again, it is super, super beneficial because you’re going to be mind blown. Like, again, Spotify, there’s so many, Amazon’s in there. You’ve got Slack that’s in there, you’ve got Dropbox that’s in there. Seriously, there’s that many; like, I’m just looking at it now. You’ve got Excel, Spreadsheet, you’ve got Eventbrite, you’ve got ManyChat.

JAMES:

Just about every tool that people are using will be in there; like most of the popular tools anyway.

ANGELA:

Fantastic. And have you found in your time of using automations; 9,000 per month as we’ve just talked about with you. Is there anything that you feel people shouldn’t be automating?

JAMES:

Well, it may have really come down to relationships, right? Like, any human interaction, like I am so not a fan of chatbots. I mean, we’ve discussed this many times.

ANGELA:

Yes.

JAMES:

I just can’t wait for that fad to die and it kind of already is. But I guess they do serve a purpose in some ways. But automating human interaction or like trying to automate relationships is never going to work. But I think, like we discussed before, there are opportunities to save time in that space like the fact that we can send personal videos to people with only 30 seconds of our time is a super personal thing and people love it. But there was an element of automation there just to save some of my own time. Some people are a little bit against automation because they feel it’s so impersonal, but I think you can have both.

ANGELA:

Exactly. And it’s just how you look at it. It’s not like Bonjoro is creating the thing because you’ve typed in some person’s name, Alexy, for example, and then you just; all of a sudden, it does the video for you and your lips are just moving, right? Like, you still have to go in there and still take time to still do that and people love personalized messages. So if you’re able to get that notification to then do the video, your return on investment is going to be extremely high because again, people love touchpoints, they love knowing that you’re taking time out of your day to really focus on them. So you really also have to look at the ROI in these things. And that will come down to individualized business.

Now, for those businesses, because I have been lucky enough to have you as a friend, so anytime you had to talk to me about the thing called zap or hooks or anything like that, I’ve just been able to come to you. But I do know that you’ve been working very hard behind these things and that was another reason why I wanted to get you on board is because you are a great teacher, you are a great mentor. And so, how can people get started with this if they’re looking at being able to free up 75 hours of their own time every single month?

JAMES:

Well, one of the best places to start is what we discussed already, that’s the Explore Directory in Zapier and there’s also an Apps Directory at the top that you can kind of just play around in and see what the apps you’re already using are capable of using Zapier. Other than that, head to my website if you like, jimmyrose.me and I’ve also got a YouTube channel if you go to jimmyrose.me/yt. That will take you over to the YouTube channel and that’s where I’m trying to just show people what is possible, go through some examples. 

And eventually, I will have a course available, teaching people how to use Zapier. And that will be available; if you go to the website, there’s a link in the header to the Zapier course. It’s just like a waiting list at the moment because it doesn’t actually exist yet, but I’m nearly there. It’s been a hell of a lot of work way more than I thought it would be as pretty much any cost created for the tester. But yes, we’re getting there.

ANGELA:

You’re getting there. And I would strongly encourage; I’ve seen already some of what James is doing with that course; I’ve seen full hands. As many of you know, I will only recommend people that I either have high, high standards for or that I’ve actually used them myself. And James is one of them, he is a man of his word and again, automation is his jam. So if you are looking at being able to automate in some of the ways that James has talked about today, I would strongly encourage you to head to his website and get on that waitlist because it is definitely a course that is going to knock your socks off.

Now, one final question that I like to ask all my guests and that question to you James is what do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started in business?

JAMES:

Oh, man. Not everything is going to go the way you think it’s going to. 

ANGELA:

I feel like that was like not really thought out there, James. I feel like you hesitated there for a minute, like, “Oh my goodness, it’s a tough question. And Anj, I didn’t know was going to ask this.”

JAMES:

Yes, that’s exactly what it was. I love that you sprung this on me, just like my favourite beer. That’s an even harder question to answer. I mean, there’s so many things; there’s so, so, so many things. Like, the one that really stands out for me is like no matter; like even if you do everything right that people say you should do, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to work the way they say. You know what I mean? Like, there’s like a lot of guru stuff going on where they say, “If you do all these things, you’ll be sweet.” But really, business just comes down to hard work and pushing through so many barriers and it’s just this constant slugger for a long time. That’s probably the biggest thing.

ANGELA:

And when you talk about everyone, if it is easy, we’d all be millionaires. 

JAMES:

Right.

ANGELA:

And it isn’t. And again, as you know, I’m not a believer in the hustle. I do believe that there is hard work that has to take place. It doesn’t mean that it’s going to be hard forever but when you’re first starting off, as I’ve talked often in the podcast, if you’ve got someone who’s working 8 hours a day on their business, plotting along, being consistent, showing up; and you’ve got someone who’s only able to work 2 hours a day, and that’s okay. Just know that that person working the 8 hours, if they’re being consistent and being productive, they’re probably going to move quicker than you. So it comes down to choices about what you choose to do, but there is an essence of hard work at the beginning. 100% I couldn’t agree more on that. 

Now, also, before we sign off, just a reminder that my team and I will also be putting together the whole transcription for this episode at angelahenderson.com.au. And of course, I cover all sorts of related business and life topics inside my Facebook community, The Australian Business Collaborative, so feel free to head over there. And for the rest of you, I hope you have a fabulous day no matter where you are in the world and I look forward to having you join me again next week for another episode of the Business and Life Conversations Podcast.

Thanks so much, James, for being on today and I look forward to probably seeing you maybe tomorrow at the Coworking Space.

JAMES:

Yes, it’s been awesome. Thanks, Angela.

ANGELA:

Alright. Bye.


Thanks for listening to the Business and Life Conversations Podcast with Angela Henderson, Zapier. www.angelahenderson.com.au 

Angel Henderson Consulting

I'm Ange... proud Canadian, Nutella eating lover and pink is my favorite colour with a splash of glitter. I'm a business consultant/coach who has helped hundreds of business owners get all the pieces in place to have consistent 5-figure months and multiple 6-figure years... without burning out in the process.