Automate agency tasks for better time & money balance with Derek Schmidt – SWC 42July 25, 2019 July 25, 2019 /
Automation of tasks in an agency sounds cool, right? How can an agency owner introduce automation that can result in saving time and make more money in the process?
Derek Schmidt had a similar question while running his web agency, and he answered it himself by building his own CRM solution. Here is Derek sharing about agency tasks automation and much more.
01. Using different tools in the agency
- Going to start with your quote “In 2014, as the agency was scaling, I ran into an organization barrier where I needed to have my business information and processes in one place. Our team was wasting a lot of time navigating and updating information across these different apps like CRM, project management, invoicing, proposals and the cost was starting to eat away at our bottom line.” Isn’t this so true even today for a lot of new and old agencies?
- Besides using different apps and programs, what were other organizational problems that did not allow an efficient flow of work within the agency?
02. Building product to solve its own problems
- To solve own issues within the agency, you started developing your own CRM, which later became a standalone product as Swell Systems. Was the product, the main goal from the beginning or it just happened?
- You spent almost two years in the building and refining the Swell systems CRM. What was this process like and making improvements based on continuous feedback?
03. Automating Agency tasks
- You mentioned, “ Because we also use SWELL in DesignLoud, we were able to save the agency at least 8 hours per week and an additional $50,000 per year.” Which were few areas of improvement that lead to time-saving and more money in the process?
- For an agency which is relatively new like 1-2 years in operation, which tasks an agency should automate right from the beginning to have better breathing space?
- As per your experience, which specific tasks automation saves maximum time or makes more money?
- A lot of production time is spent on client communication and work feedback. What are a few dos and don’ts in this regard that allow more efficient communication?
04. Automation & people
- Does this automation reduce human touch in the whole process or you balance it out with constant video and audio calls?
- How do you tackle clients not comfortable interacting with new CRM for various reasons?
- Let’s flip the scenario, which are a few agency tasks you would never automate and keep it like it is?
Derek Schmidt’s ToolBox
- Use DocuSign for digital signing of documents online.
- SEMrush for digital marketing research and data.
- Prefer Beaver Builder for website layout building requirements.
About Derek Schmidt
In 2011 I started a creative agency called DesignLoud. At the time, we mainly focused on custom website design and WordPress development. Over the years, we have pivoted more towards digital marketing such as SEO services and paid advertising to build up our predictive, recurring revenue.
In 2014, as the agency was scaling, I ran into an organization barrier where I needed to have my business information and processes in one place. Every day our team was spread out across half a dozen different applications for things like CRM, project management, invoicing, proposals, and so on.
Our team was wasting a lot of time navigating and updating information across these different apps, and the cost was starting to eat away at our bottom line. That’s when we decided to develop an all-in-one solution called SWELL Enterprise. We spent over two years developing SWELL, and during that time we interviewed other freelancers and agency owners and found that this is a pretty common problem.
So in 2017, we took SWELL Enterprise and created a SaaS company that helps other agencies and creatives be more engaged in their business by allowing them to automate processes across our integrated feature set. Because we also use SWELL in DesignLoud, we were able to save the agency at least 8 hours per week and an additional $50,000 per year.