Slack: ‘a messaging app for teams’ – but unless you plan on having some very one-sided conversations then as a freelancer or solopreneur you’re not really going to give this service any mental airtime. But wait… Slack are seriously under-selling themselves!
What most people don’t realise is this: (and I’m going to say it loudly…)
YOU DON’T NEED A TEAM TO BENEFIT FROM USING SLACK!
Having recovered from your initial surprise and disbelief I invite you to look more closely at what Slack has to offer. I’m going to share with you some of the ways that you as an individual can use this service to assist and streamline some of your business processes and co-ordinate vital business information.
First things first though, what is Slack?
Slack is an online service that provides users with workspace and storage, with the facitilities to pull in data from a variety of places via app integrations. From the team perspective you can have one account for your team, with individual users having access to different (or all) parts of the overall team space. These different parts are called channels, and you can set up as many as you need. Team members all have their own separate logins, and can chat via the in-app messaging service allowing collaboration on projects even when miles apart. Files can be shared, screens can be viewed, edits made, workflow tracked, archives searched – it really is very handy indeed. It is available on all platforms and syncs well across devices. In fact I think Slack are missing a trick here, they should market themselves as ‘the ultimate online data and team collaboration app’.
But what about you?
If you are working solo then you would be forgiven for writing off the usefulness of Slack, given their tagline. I was. I had heard a little about Slack and decided I ought to check it out – but soon left their site downcast and disappointed, wishing that I ran a team so that I could use their services. It was only a few months later when I read an article from another service provider explaining how their data could be integrated into Slack that it got me thinking… I could benefit from this – I don’t have a team, but I would like to be able to have this feature – and so I started looking more closely at what EXACTLY Slack had to offer.
Firstly – did they have a free trial or free package that I could sign up for to test the whole thing out? Yes – they have a free-forever plan.
Were third party app integrations available on this free plan? Yes – their free plan allows you up to 10 app integrations.
Would I be able to create an account but not have to have anyone else in my team? (If not, then my dog would be getting his own email address purely in the name of product testing…). But yes, you can have a team of only you.
So, scrubbing all the ‘team’ biases of Slack from your consciousness, how do you use it solo?
The only way I can see Slack benefiting me is by making use of the integrations. But it is a very BIG only. Since my main area of interest is process and productivity – including automation, integration and workflow – you’ll not be surprised to read that I find the possibilities of Slack for me on my own to be really quite exciting! Using app integrations allows me to use Slack as my central information dashboard for alerts, metrics, results and other important data I need to monitor my business.
Let’s look at some of the available integrations:
Website analytics? » Yes – via GA Reporting, Statsbot, Arc +++
Social Media tracking? » Yes – via Hootsuite, Glance, Content Tracker, AddThis Share +++
Projects & Tasks? » Yes – via Trello, Todoist, Asana +++
Marketing? » Yes – via MailChimp, GetResponse, MonkeyWorks +++
CRM? » Yes – via SellfCRM, SugarCRM, SimpleCRM +++
Meetings & Appointments? » Yes – via Click Meeting, Meekan, Setmore, Google Calendar +++
Customer Service? » Yes – via Zendesk, Chatlio, Live Chat, Drift +++
Money and Accounts? » Yes – via Zoho, Sway Finance, ZipBooks, LydiaBot +++
Lead Generation? » Yes – via Wishpond, Clearbit, Ivyleads +++
And so many more!
All you need to do is connect your app or service to your Slack account and set up any required parameters – like telling it which channel to post the data to and how often, and the bots will do the rest! Open Slack when you sit down to work, or view it on a mobile device while you’re on the go, and when there is new information for you it will automatically pop up on your channel ‘feed’. What could be simpler? No more clicking around for your latest followers, or number of site visitors last week. No more jumping between screens to compile numbers from many different sources. Slack has it there ready for you when you need it – where you need it.
Still not convinced?
On top of the hundreds of integrations that currently exist for Slack, it also plays nicely with both Zapier and IFTTT – giving you even more fuctionality.
My top tip: The free plan may only offer you 10 integrations, but if one of these is (for example) IFTTT this will allow you to connect a myriad of additional alerts and notifications to your Slack dashboard, whilst only using one of your precious 10 available hook-ups.
But don’t take my word for it – head on over to slack.com and see for yourself. Your solo account is free and easy to set up. What services will you choose to integrate? If any other people working solo have novel uses for the Slack that I haven’t mentioned – please leave a comment let me know!