Business Resource Blog

18-Minute Lightning Talk

Click here to watch the long presentation

Note: The slide deck below is for the full 40-minute talk.

Resource mentioned at WCPHX: Streamline your WordPress Development with WP Engine

Transcript (editing in progress)

Today what I’m going to talk to you about is cloning yourself using automation.

Now, I’m not a biologist, I don’t know AI, so I can’t actually replicate you. That said, I know for me, having another me running around is probably not good either.

What I want to talk about is how to use automation in your business to effectively clone yourself to take those tasks that are repetitive and find ways to have someone else, or something else do it so it frees you up to do what’s important in your business, and where your time is best spent.

Today I’m going to drop into a few points within a project life-cycle, and show how I use automation for my WordPress Website development flow.


Incoming Leads: So how much does a Website Cost?

Typically, projects start just like this, you get an email from a prospect, and they ask the exciting question of” “So, how much does a website cost?”

To which we all go well, it depends.

And our goal in this is with using automation, is to go from that email of how much does it cost, to the sales call where we actually, if this is someone we want, will potentially write that estimate, and get them on-boarded as a client.

So to the email of how much does it cost, we’re going to reply with an email.

It goes something like this:

  1. Thank you for reaching out, to provide an accurate estimate I’m going to need a little more information.
  2. Here is the link to my project request form.

Notice that you’re already hearing a little bit of automation.

Instead of my putting questions into an email, I am sending them to a form that is going to ask them specific questions I need to really figure out if this is a client or even a prospect, I even want to have sales call with.

The email continues on, once complete, you’re going to be taken to my scheduling page where you can select a time from my calendar that works with your schedule.

I look forward to learning more about your project.

So instead of back and forth emails, they’re going to find a time that works for them based on my calendar. Score!

Now let’s dive a little deeper.


Goal: Email to Sales calls with MINIMAL effort!

You’ll notice I’m using the colors blue & green throughout this presentation. 

  • Green means I have to do something.
  • Blue means the step does not involve me.

All I have to do is take this email, click canned response, and hit send, done! 


Canned Responses can be used by anyone who uses a Google mail. Simply, log into Gmail and go to


Once the email is sent off sent off to the client the next thing to happen is behind the scenes tagging.

I use Gravity Forms & Active Campaign (my list building tool) to accomplish this.

Once the prospect completes my “Project Request Form”, the form tells ActiveCampaign to add a tag of “Project Request Submitted” to their profile.

You’ll notice that I like to tag the prospect as I go along the way in the automation as it gives me a pulse on where they’re at in the project flow.


Next, they are taken to my scheduling page.

This is achieved by redirecting a successful submission of the “Project Request Form” to a booking page with my calendar embedded on it. 

Right now I’m using, but there are plenty of options out there including Schedule Once & Acuity. I love it!

  • It gives the opportunity for me to have appointments that are of the period of time I would be willing to do for a sales call i.e. about 20 minutes.
  • It’s tied into my Google Calendar when they sign up it gets tied into their Google Calendar.
  • It’s automatically put on my Google Calendar.
  • Reminders go out a day before, an hour before.
  • They are told that the meeting is going to happen in the Zoom Room, and here’s a link.

I also, upon submission of the Project Request Form, send them an email thanking them are including the Scheduling Link in case they might have closed the window by accident.

My final step is to use Zapier to tag them in ActiveCampaign “Sales Call Scheduled”


There are even more little things I do in here because automation can be refined and expanded upon over time.

For example, I’ve got the tag “Project Request Submitted” and I have tag “Sales Call Scheduled”.

So what happens if they fill out the form, it brings them to the calendar, and they don’t sign up?

Well, based on these tags, if “Project Request Submitted” is present “Sales Call Scheduled” is not I know they still need to schedule a time to call.

Using this information, at about 3 days after the Project Request Form is submitted I could conditionally trigger the sending of a reminder email containing the Booking Link and also mentioning that if they are having troubling finding a time that works for them to please reach out.

So by putting in those little droplets of where we are in the process along the way you can further refine your automation.


I also do want to share that I do scan the Project Request Form details when it comes in as just because a prospect gets on my calendar does not mean they get to stay.

Not every project is a fit. 

Every now and then I put the canned email to use: We’re not accepting clients anymore / We don’t specialize in that service, here’s a referral.


Have you notices that we’ve just gone from popping in a canned response in an email to a scheduled sales call. This is huge!


Have the sales call. Write the proposal. Sign the client!

I utilize Better Proposals to streamline the proposal creating & approval process along with collecting the 50% deposit.


Client Onboarding: Now let’s get them into our system.

What I quickly figured out was that the majority of my project tools were requiring virtually the same information over and over again.

Namely: Client name, email, company, URL, project name.

These include tools like Slack for internal team communication, DropBox for file sharing, Harvest for invoicing & time tracking and TeamWorkPM for task tracking.

One day as I sat there manually entering this repetitive date the lightbulb literally went on.

What if I combined the power of a Single Form and a Cloud Connecting Software? 


This is ultimate cloning!

One form, 5 actions.

The best part: it’s done correctly, consistently, every single time.


Do the work. Wow, the client. Now let’s get more Business!

So often once we finish a website build we are so excited that the project is done we forget that this is the most exciting part of the project for our client thus missing out on a HUGE opportunity to generate future work.


At launch, our client is our biggest fan!

So how do we leverage this?

Simple, with an automated sequence of emails that provide touch points over the next 12 months post-launch all triggered by your setting one tag “Website Launched”.

A possible sequence is as follows:

  • Month 1: Testimonial 
    … I’d be grateful if you could take a moment to review your experience with us.  You can do so here:  …
  • Month 2: Update reminder email
    … “keeping things humming” email to “remind them” the importance of keeping their software up to date and upsell to Maintenance Plans …
  • Month 3: Referrals
    … If you know anyone that could benefit from a conversation with me, please send them my way …
  • Month 6 & 1 year: Let’s celebrate
    Celebrate their site’s anniversary!
  • Month 9
    A useful email

Each of these emails is a way for your business to remain top of mind in your clients’ eyes.


Final Thought: Automation is a bit like teaching your kids to tie their own shoes.

It does take additional work up-front.

But here’s the thing, are you’re planning to go to college with your kids just to tie their shoes?

Or do you not, once you’ve taken the time to teach them how to tie their shoes, celebrate every single time they just do it?

Automation is the same.

It’s one of those things where you’re going to have to put in some up-front work, but you are going to thank yourself each and every time it runs.