top of page
  • Writer's pictureYaakov Citron

Irit Levi: Streamlining Success: A Conversation with Automation Specialist

In this engaging episode of Solo2CEO, we are with Irit Levi, an expert in helping small and medium businesses streamline their processes through automation and delegation. Irit shares insights on her approach to improving business efficiency, the challenges her clients face, and her insights on automation and other essential processes for business success.

Irit, can you tell us a bit about what you do?

I help small to medium businesses streamline their processes. This includes identifying what is and isn’t working, and implementing improvements through automation and delegation to help them scale effectively.

What kind of companies do you primarily work with?

I work with various industries including coaches, creatives, consultants, healthcare, real estate, and recruitment. My clients are usually small businesses with anywhere from 5 to 30 employees.

Before hiring you, what are the main issues that companies face, and how do you help them?

These companies usually struggle with things falling through the cracks, such as prospects not receiving follow-up emails, clients not getting updates, unclear project responsibilities, and difficulty in managing workload and hiring needs. Essentially, they face chaos from growing pains.

I help with everything from client acquisition to project management, content, and data management. My goal is to streamline all processes from onboarding to offboarding clients, and even managing social content.

How do you onboard a new client?

We start with an in-depth meeting where they walk me through their processes. We go through each step and understand it fully before we identify the areas for improvement. After this, we create tailored solutions that fit their specific needs.

How do you choose your automation tools?

It depends on the purpose, process, and people involved. However, I do have favorites like Airtable for content management, Zapier for integrations, and Google Workspace for overall organization.

I prefer Zapier because it is user-friendly and cost-effective. Some apps integrate with one or the other, so sometimes other apps are needed, not just my favorites.

What are some common mistakes about automation?

A big mistake is that automation can't be personalized—it can be, to a large extent. Another is that businesses can DIY their automation. It may be possible, but oftentimes it is more time-consuming and less effective than hiring an expert.

How long does it take to set up these processes?

It depends on the business's existing process definition and strategy. If your processes are well-defined, it is quicker to identify and implement automation processes, while undefined processes take longer to set up.

What's your favorite tool for social media post-scheduling?

For me, the best tool depends on specific needs like video posting, carousels, analytics, and backward integration capabilities. Currently, I like MetraCool for its analytics and customer-centric approach. However, I am still exploring other options.  

Up until last year, I was primarily using LinkedIn for social media, and I scheduled posts within LinkedIn itself. Now, I also upload to YouTube and TikTok. We handle scheduling through Airtable and Zapier, which push content to YouTube with all the necessary details.

Does scheduling posts affect engagement on social media?

It depends on who you ask, but generally, the timing of the schedule is less important than the engagement before and after posting. For LinkedIn specifically, being active around your posting time significantly boosts engagement. Consistency and interaction with your audience are key. LinkedIn's notification bell can be helpful but works only about 60% of the time.

How does automation affect employee roles within a company?

Training and explaining the importance of automation is important to avoid a negative impact on your process. If your team isn't on board with the process, it can lead to significant issues. For example, an employee at a company I consulted refused to mark tasks as complete in the project management tool, which disrupted the automation process.

How does automation improve operation?

Adjusting a company’s project management tool to align with its workflow is important to improve efficiency. It is just right to choose tools that fit your workflow rather than adapting your processes to the tool.

Can you share some tips for selecting the right tools for business operations?

Start with your current processes and identify the best tool to support and enhance them. Sometimes the simplest solution, like built-in tools on your devices, can be the most effective.

What are your thoughts on using Apple products for business tasks?

Apple Reminders and Notes are excellent for personal task management because they integrate seamlessly across devices.

Apple provides a stable, consistent environment with its products, which is great for usability, but it can be limited due to its closed ecosystem. I love Apple, but their tools aren't suitable for every use case or scenario. It is better to use apps that integrate better with various platforms. An open environment that integrates with other tools is preferable to one that locks you in.

How does Google Workspace compare to Apple's environment?

Google Workspace, which includes tools like Sheets, Slides, Docs, Calendar, and others, works well with numerous platforms. It's not about using an all-in-one tool but it offers specialized tools for different tasks. Flexibility makes Google Workspace a better choice for those needing integration across different operating systems.

Can you explain your preference for specialized tools over all-in-one solutions?

All-in-one tools claim to handle everything, but they often fall short. Specialized tools are better than all-in-one solutions because they focus on specific tasks and do them well. An email marketing tool, for instance, should excel at email marketing, while a different tool might be better for course management. Choose the right tool for the job to maximize efficiency and effectiveness.

How do you approach choosing the right tool for a job?

It's a matter of evaluating what's more important to you. Do you want a cost-effective solution that offers multiple features, or do you want the best tool for each specific task? For example, an email marketing tool might seem appealing because it includes courses and landing pages, but if you look closely, you might find that the free offers have limited features that you'll quickly outgrow. It's better to invest in a specialized tool that offers the complexity and depth you need rather than settling for a jack-of-all-trades.

How does Notion fit into your approach to tools and integration?

Notion is a powerful tool for data management, with features like databases, project management, and more. It's particularly effective for people with non-linear thinking, such as those with ADD or ADHD, because it allows for flexible organization. It is highly customizable, because you can create pages and databases tailored to your needs.

Notion accommodates non-linear thinking by allowing users to organize information in a way that makes sense to them, which can be more flexible than traditional project management tools.

What industries benefit most from workflow solutions and automation?

Every industry has processes that can be optimized, so every industry can benefit from workflow solutions and automation. The key is to identify and define these processes clearly. Once you understand the steps involved, you can find opportunities for automation and delegation. This streamlines operations and also makes it easier to delegate tasks, and business continues even when key personnel are unavailable.

Many tasks that take up brain space can be automated. You can set up automated follow-ups so you don't have to remember each step manually. This frees up mental space for more strategic activities and enables processes to be consistently followed.

Where do you see automation and AI heading in the future, especially in the context of small businesses and service providers?

There are already tools that integrate AI into their workflows.  However, AI is only as smart as the people who programmed it. It requires clear and accurate prompts to be effective. You need to understand what you need and articulate it well enough for the AI to execute properly.

Do you use ChatGPT in your workflow for content creation or ideation?

For content creation and ideation, I usually avoid using ChatGPT directly. I prefer to add my own input for originality. AI can be useful, but for certain tasks, I believe in human creativity and expertise.

For content creation and ideation, I prefer to rely on my input. Usually, AI-generated content can lack personal touch. However, I use AI for creating outlines for masterclasses. On my website, AI-generated images are used, but they were created by a designer who understands how to prompt AI effectively. This separation of tasks allows me to maintain a personal touch while benefiting from AI's capabilities.

How do you see the role of AI evolving in terms of job functions?

The future of AI involves splitting roles into three groups: trainers, maintainers, and explainers. Trainers define tasks for the AI, maintainers keep the AI updated and functional, and explainers develop strategies to push AI to its limits. AI won't replace us but will require us to get better at creating, maintaining, and expanding prompts.

Should people adapt to AI or resist it?

Personally, I'm cautious with AI. I’m not a fan of AI because it’s often quicker for me to perform tasks manually than to train an AI model. But I recognize AI’s potential and understand why others might adopt it. For specialized tasks like AI-generated content, I'd rather hire an expert who knows how to maximize AI's capabilities.

Would you prefer to hire someone who uses AI in their work process or someone who does everything manually?

It depends on their process and the results they deliver. If someone uses AI effectively and verifies the data, that's valuable. However, I don't specifically ask if candidates use AI. I focus on their efficiency and the quality of their work.

What are your thoughts on the balance between AI-generated and human-generated content?

There's a trade-off with any tool. AI can accelerate content creation but may compromise on quality and human touch. For brands like mine, connections and authenticity are more important than the quantity of content.

What tools would you recommend for someone who wants to learn more about automation?

Explore the communities and forums of tools in your tech stack, like Make, Zapier, and Airtable. These communities are invaluable for understanding tool capabilities and limitations. Additionally, review feedback, especially the one and two-star reviews, to anticipate potential issues and understand if they are relevant to your use case.

How can someone find these communities and forums?

Simply Google the tool's name followed by "community" or "forum." For example, searching "Zapier community" or "Asana community" will lead you to the right places. Be mindful of the moderation in these forums as they highlight positive aspects, so balance this with independent reviews.

If someone wants to get in touch with you, what’s the best way?

You can reach out to me directly through LinkedIn or my website

8 views0 comments


bottom of page