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April 15, 2022

E007 Jason: Certified Automation Specialist

Automation Is The Key To Increase Your Business Efficiency, Effectiveness & Scalability.

Jason is a Certified Automation Specialist accredited by MailChimp, MailerLite, TypeForm and Zapier. His company Automation Made Simple is renown for its workflow analysis, optimization & automation results.
His Twitter: @zensiblesol
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Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 0:07
Once upon a time, there were millions of businesses struggling. Every day they wasted time, effort, and money on repetitive tasks that added no value one day, the better automation podcast by process CEO came to show them the way. Because of this, these businesses save time, reduce costs, innovate and make better decisions. Because of that these businesses grow, scale, and use human creativity to change this world. Hello, my name is Aziz and I'm your host that better automation podcast by process SEO, where I interview the world's top experts and share their very best ideas on how to improve automation in your business, processes and life. My guest today is Jason Jason is an automation specialist and the founder at sensible solutions as well as automation made simple focusing on workflow automation is companies are MailChimp certified mailer light certified type form certified and certified as a Zapier expert, Jason is an IT engineer with over 25 years of experience in multiple roles as well as a keen traveler who has been all over the world cycling across Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Nepal, and India. Jason, how are you today?

Jason 2:03
I'm very well, thank you for having me.

Nice introduction.

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 2:07
It's my honor. It's my privilege. And I'm excited about this. And to give the viewers some context, context, what's your story? What made you be interested in automation, you've been doing roles in all kinds of positions. And it Why the focus on automation?

Jason 2:29
Yeah, as you say, I spent a lot of time in corporate IT, doing lots of different roles. Most of my career was the system administrator. And part of that work, in the later years was using automation tools that were for sort of corporate, so these expensive Microsoft based tools, and things like SQL Server and business intelligence to automate. And I worked a lot of doing that I liked it, I think I have that kind of logical brain, I like to, I like to work things out like that. And and so after having some time in this sort of corporate world, I decided to have a look elsewhere did some traveling, as you mentioned, but then start to come across tools like Zapier and Integra mat, and realize that these tools was now available to smaller companies, you know, the pay as you go, kind of subscription services, that these tools that we were using for bigger, larger companies could really revolutionize smaller businesses. And that kind of inspired me to start my own business. And to start trying to help small companies to automate this processes.

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 3:45
Tell me more youth that it can, automation can revolutionize the experience for small businesses? How, when is the best time in your experience for them to begin to do so? And what kind of quick ROI or changes can they expect from such projects? Improvement? automations?

Jason 4:09
Yeah, so a lot of the smaller businesses small to medium businesses that we come across, they they know that processes very well. So this is the first thing I always say to businesses. First of all, you have to understand your processes, you have to understand what you want to do. So when companies are first getting started, they're finding the fee. But eventually they'll know the processes, whether they have it written down anywhere or not, they will know exactly what to do. So part of the work is helping them to document they're helping them to get that down. Sometimes for the first time they've ever seen it laid out on a screen, you know, this goes from A to B to C to D. So climbing up these processes. And then a lot of them will have spreadsheets and data all over the place. So it's just a case of you know, for Things like big wins for small businesses, things like air table where you can just pull all that information into one place. And just tell them that this is that this is the hub of everything that you have. This is where we're going to contain the data, and then working with them to map out their processes, and then look for some quick wins in how we can automate the things that they're doing. Tell me

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 5:21
more in that. Imagine I'm a client, I came to you I say, I'm like running around, just taking care of fires firefighting all day long. I'm not looking at the whole big picture of the business. I don't know what's going on, I'm sure some of my hours are wasted and gone forever and never to be recovered. And I want to understand what's happening to feel some safety, because of past performance, which is like the only indicator we have for what will happen next to know, whether I'm on the right track, or I'm burning money, without being aware of it, as well as you know, not need to do whatever, anything that can be taken over by automation. What would you tell them? How will that process be? Imagine just walking us through a project you're doing for me or for our viewer? How will it be?

Jason 6:24
It's usually like we start at the beginning. So okay, where? What's the trigger? For everything that happens? What is the first step? Is it a phone call is an email? Is it from somebody on your website, filling in a form an inquiry, so start there in the very beginning to find out exactly what triggers everything, because that's the point, then everything will all these actions will then occur from these points. And sometimes there's multiple triggers, but it's just finding out exactly what that point is. And then a high level view of trying to map out exactly what that is. And then we always say to start small, because if you try to automate everything at once, you can come unstuck very quickly. So start small start with the foundations look for the big wins, again, you know, what is being automation is all about repetitive steps. So we have lots of companies, there's always these repetitive steps, these actions, so it's finding what they are exactly, so that you can automate those. And then just iterate from there just progress out from there. I say try not to automate everything, because, you know, there's always exclusions to the rules and things like that. And you want to just be able to deal with them exemptions, maybe manually if you need to. But just look at the core and look of automating the core and work out slowly from there.

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 7:51
I love that. And a lot of people might not imagine how useful it is to go through the thinking process of mapping out their processes, because you will notice efficiencies, you will notice things that can be improved. Also, not needing to think about what to do next. Having checklists, having like step by step procedures, frees up your mind in order to innovate and create something new rather than being in that reactive mode thinking or what to do next, having a sense of forgetting a step. At every time, when people come to you for help businesses, what seems to be the most common pain point that they need help with, that they understand that automation will solve?

Jason 8:46
A lot of it is they they're frightened of missing something they're frightened to drop in the ball, they're juggling all these different things, they know that they're not efficient, they know that they are missing things they are not following up. So that's what they're looking for really lacking said that they're looking for some way that they can empty their head, have alerts and information reminded, you know, sent to them to remind them at the key times. So their mind is free to focus on what their actual job is or what you know, what they're trying to achieve. So a lot of it is just yeah, it's just giving them the confidence that they can focus on what they need to do. Making sure they're not going to miss anything. There's triggers that will follow up this emails that can alert them if they've missed something so that they can just focus on, you know, what they're trying to achieve in their business. And that is a that's a common theme where especially small businesses that are growing fast, they have a they have a small foundation that they start with and it works fine, but it cannot grow. You cannot grow with it. And they realize that and this is why they come and talk to me about that. And this is where we start to look at That kind of thing that foundation for them.

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 10:02
I really love the usefulness, the power, and life changing possibilities that automation tools, for example, well, my favorite is processor, but each person can have their own. And to you specifically, I know I asked this, but I want a deeper question. What interests you in motivation? mean in automation? What motivates you to keep going to keep doing it? You could be, I don't know, a full stack developer or developer or a system, like you said, like taking care of servers and systems and all those activities that could be highly paid in a way that a freelancer going through feast and famine? Might not, might appreciate. So what keeps you going? What keeps you feeling motivated to automate to help people who need automation to focus on that? Is that that saving time will allow them to spend more time with their children and families? And that is important to you? Is it that your productivity, like focus person, and therefore increase in productivity and efficiency in the world? Is something that matters to you? Is it a growing market? And therefore you see the need growing and growing? And therefore you want to be part of that? Or what keeps you going?

Jason 11:33
Yeah, I think I think it's a lot of those things. When you're a system administrator, you It's a thankless task, if the system is up and running. Nobody cares, okay, it's up. But when it goes wrong, you know, you're the cause of it, there's lots of pain, your job is to keep the system running. And everybody then takes that for granted that the systems are running, therefore, everything's okay. There's no, there's no thinking in it. And there's no, there's no gratitude or no pleasure taken from it. But when you're working with small businesses, and you can see them struggling, and you can see lots of possibilities that will help them these are, sometimes these are very big wins. And you can turn a company around. So so what you do in automation, in this line of work, you do make a difference, you, you're not just keeping something afloat, you're making changes.

And also I like, I

like going into businesses where there's this chaos around and just trying to simplify, just try, because a lot of things are complicated, seem complicated, as well as a lot of chaos. But if you can just sit back, and this is the thing that business owners don't have time to do. So it's like a therapy session sometimes where you just step them back out out of what they're doing. And just slowly look at exactly what you're trying to do. And sometimes you get this a lot where businesses and people within the business, they do a process, they're not even sure why they do that process, they've always done it the person before then told them how to do it. And sometimes that's not the best way of doing things. So by stepping back, and an advantage of being an outsider is you haven't got all these biases and all this politics that come with businesses that sometimes shape how our business works, you can just step back, and logically say, Well, this is this, this is your process. And this is how it should be done. And so sometimes just showing that to customers, it will be the first time they've seen that and that excites them, and just helping companies to grow. That inspires me as well.

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 13:43
I can imagine the satisfaction you can get from taking something that is chaos and turning it into order and usefulness as well as eliminating all the things that are taking up money time, effort, and that shouldn't be done at all. I remember Peter Drucker said that there is no bigger waste than to do efficiently things that should not be done at all. A lot of people might be doing that without being aware of it. And since you are an expert, that is using all of the wonderful tools that help with automation, with data reporting, with organization and all that, do you feel there is something a frustration when using those tools that is not solved, something that might be missing or a technology that you think is up and coming that will change even more the whole state of the automation, community and tools and best practices Have

Jason 15:00
Yeah, I mean, there's I think the tools that we're using now are fantastic. And over the last five to 10 years, the way these tools have grown, is incredible. And there's still a lot that can be done with that. I think the big changes over the next sort of five to 10 years, as you're seeing in the developer world is this kind of machine learning and AI kind of tools that will solve some of the problems where you have, where things are just not straightforward, where there's exceptions to the rules that we talked about, they're very hard to deal with, with automation. You need, you need hard, fast rules when you automate it. But I think some of the tools that will be coming, which will look at trends and things like that, and maybe change and based on the trends that we're seeing. So some of the analysis tools. I mean, we've seen it sort of 510 years ago in corporate business, some of the analysis tools where you could do plain English searches and things like that. So I think they'll come a long way, things like copy AI in the, in the copy business where you know, a piece of software can go out there and write a 10 page essay, or blog on a subject by just given a few words. I mean, the tools are incredible. So I'm looking forward to how that would integrate into the automation business as well.

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 16:31
I like that automation business going into more and more integration with more tools. It's like, the whole foundation and basis is that you integrate as many of the tools you're using automate, what doesn't need to be done to use the best infield of each one. And now to grow and get AI on your side and things like that. That sounds wonderful. You will spoke about data about reporting. Well, a lot of startups don't have that long of a history and backup data for them to get some kind of like moving averages or reporting that is not just what's happening right now, which could be affected by 1,000,001 things. How do you deal with that? Let's say it's a brand new company, or one that has been there for maybe less than six months or something and they didn't collect too much data? Do you recommend for them to wait a bit, but keep on collecting data? Do you begin doing like showing dashboards, showing things for them to be aware of the current situation? How do you approach such a project?

Jason 17:50
Yes, like you say, I mean, good report and analysis, nice lots of data behind it. But I always start, if I'm using air table or something like that, then I will build dashboards, because there's still it's still very useful to know, you know, who's your biggest client who's buying the most things, you know, where your time is going, projects won and lost and why they've been won and lost, you can still get some, you know, small trends that you'll start to see that are useful for the company, and things that they've never heard before. So, again, a lot of small businesses, just head on, just plowing through, and probably missing opportunities, or wasting a lot of time with maybe clients that they spend a lot of time with, but they're not getting a lot of profit from. So just giving them giving them small insights can help, you know, then blindly, blindly running on through the company. So they do help, even though there's not a lot of data, and you can't do sophisticated analysis, it's good enough for them to adjust, get some feedback, and maybe change how they're working.

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 18:54
I really liked that. And I thought of a question that I'm really curious about how had traveling all over the world cycling in Asia and in many other places, inspire you in your business, or teach you about automation, or what lessons did you extract that can help a business owner or someone to think better about automation? Either way? Either one of them would be a wonderful answer.

Jason 19:26
Yes. That's a cool one. I mean, the thing I know is coming from coming from the UK, and going through these countries like Indonesia,

is, you see

a lot of inefficiencies in these countries. Do you see that? The changes and it's kind of like having a superpower. So like Indonesia, perhaps it's like 2030 years behind in some in some ways. And so you can see lots of opportunities here. Lots of inefficiencies. But then on the other hand, you can also see in the Southeast Asian countries, that they're leapfrogging they're going from, from nothing to the best tech, and some of the tech companies that are here in Indonesia are just incredible. So it's inspiring to see how on you know, you could be riding through villages that live in small huts, and, and no roads. But then the technology behind some of the companies here, like grab, for instance, I'm not sure if you're familiar with grab, grab his arm, grab his like that was started off like a company like Uber. So just for, you know, right now they do. They do finance, they do food, they do cleaning services. So it's inspiring to see how young people now here in these countries, we have access to the internet with access to YouTube, so they have the best university in the world, they can, with no money, learn the skills and turning out some incredible companies and some incredible technology. So that's inspiring as well,

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 21:09
this whole conversation was an inspiring one. It's honestly my privilege and my honor to spend time with you to explore and understand how that courage that takes from moving from doing a thankless task, as you mentioned, as a system administrator to someone who has to make a difference to see the difference you make, to also show the benefits so that you get more clients and it becomes more of a hunting rather than a farming kind of life and situation. And if people relate to your story to what you're saying they want to use your services or to communicate with you. Or to learn more about what you do. What are the best links for them to do that? And I'll make sure to write some of them in the description.

Jason 22:07
Okay, great. Yeah, my website is automation made simple dot coat. You can find me on Twitter at sensible, Sol sensible soul. Also, we do I run a training company for virtual assistants called no code VA, you'll find that on the website. But this is this is a community where I'm teaching no code tools, to virtual assistants and online business managers. Because these are the people that can really benefit from these tools as well. Working with clients, these, these people are doing the kind of administration work. So automation is right. For that kind of thing. Sorry. Administration is right for automation. So you can find the details on the website as well. But yeah, just hit me up, hit me up on Twitter. And we can go from there.

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 22:56
Thank you. And for me, I cannot end without mentioning process yo and recommend it to everyone. Process eo is the modern low code, no code platform for advanced automation and creating an enterprise grade back end for your software. To all the listeners, you can request access to a free account at processor dot app. And if you want to upgrade there is a generous 50% discount code. It's better 50 of one word all in capital letters. And you can find the link in the description again, Jason, enjoy Indonesia, if I understood correctly, you're over there. I'm happier enjoying the healthy exotic fruits and the life that will be unique, interesting every day, which is what people can have when they automate the repetitive tasks and their businesses. And therefore, they can actually be in Indonesia, eating some mangoes and learning the language and meeting the locals rather than being stuck repeating for the millionth time, the same thing they did yesterday and the day before, because they're not doing things efficiently and taking advantage of all the automation opportunities found in this world. Thank you, Jason. Thank you very much.