When I first started working at Rosenberry Rooms none of us had much experience dealing with ecommerce at the volume we were experiencing. We were set up on a Yahoo store and I was brought on to process orders. The way I would do this was I’d manually copy the text for the packing slip out of Yahoo!, then paste it into a Word document with our logo on it, then attach it to an email and find the email address of the vendor I needed to order it from.
We had over 300 hundred vendors, and they all requested different ways to receive their order. Some wanted their SKU listed in the slip, others didn’t care. Some wanted it faxed or called in. Some would dropship, others would only stock.
I would spend 4-6 hours of every day processing these orders (at the time we only had 50-100 orders a day!) and all the information was in my head. To me, this was a great setup. I was the only one that could process orders in a reasonable amount of time, or at least what we thought was reasonable at the time, so my value to the company was immense. I remember leaving for my honeymoon and coming back after 3 weeks to find 3 week old orders pending that no one knew how to process. I had the ultimate job security.
Understandably, the owner of the company was nervous about what would happen when we’d need to process 200 orders a day, and challenged me to find a solution. At the time, I didn’t have much incentive to automate my job and had fooled myself by saying things along the lines of “No software could do what I do”. I felt that automating my job would render the skills I had developed useless and it was a large part of my professional identity at the time. Eventually, the owner motivated me to get on top of this project and get the ball rolling.
After a ton of research and a endless demos, we decided to go with the Stone Edge Order Management System, and we haven’t looked back since. It took months to get it functional and years to customize it to the point where we wanted it, but in the end, I had literally automated 6 hours of my day.
This was a strange state to be in, I had been used to working late into the night to keep up, considering myself some sort of beacon of work ethic. Now I had tons of time and I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I started to realize that most task oriented parts of a business can and should be either automated or outsourced to a company that can do it better than you. Since that realization I’ve tried to do that with everything I can.
So what do you do when you suddenly have time again? How do you actually make yourself invaluable? How do you justify giving someone else a cut of your profit to ship your boxes or process your orders? You train yourself to constantly come up with new ideas by continuously learning new things, reading more books, talking to more people. You work more and more on improving your business, your efficiency, and your your whole life for that matter. You become a Linchpin, and focus on what truly matters and nothing that doesn’t.