A Simple App That Changed My Life

a simple app

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A few years ago, I heard about an app called TextExpander that turned out to be a HUGELY helpful productivity tool in my business.

The concept behind this software seemed insignificant at first glance, but shortly after I started using it, it turned out to be a total game changer in the way I handled emails (and for that matter, it overhauled the way I look at anything that requires typing).

I'm not kidding… this app has saved me GOBS of time and creative energy, and since it has had such an impact on the way I do business, I wanted to make sure YOU knew about it too.

What Is TextExpander?

If you're anything like me – you probably have certain sentences, phrases, explanations, responses and full-blown emails that you type out again, and again, and again.

Most people just learn to live with it, because they don't realize how horribly inefficient this is, they don't recognize how much time they're wasting in the process and most notably – they don't know that there's a better way to deal with this issue.

When I was in my 20's and early 30's, I used to work as a credit analyst/underwriter in the commercial banking world.

Something I absolutely HATED about this job was all the repetitive typing.

In every single credit memo I put together, there were certain sentences, phrases, and explanations that had to be typed out. It was mostly “filler” text that didn't deliver much information or value, but it had to be written out nonetheless.

My email inbox was a whole other nightmare to deal with.

I used to get A LOT of repetitive questions that required a response.

With every new customer I dealt with, there were certain “canned explanations” I knew by heart because I had to send them out so frequently.

It wasn't hard to type out these explanations, but it was annoying because it chewed up a lot of time I didn't have to waste.

The funny thing is – as I transitioned out of banking and into a full-time capacity with my land investing and blogging endeavors, I found that this “repetitive typing issue” didn't go away.

It comes up constantly when I need to do any of the following…

  • Type out my mailing address or phone number
  • Email offers to people
  • Explain why I don't have time to take on a coaching client
  • Say “no” to someone who wants to write a guest post for this blog
  • Type out long website URLs that I commonly refer to
  • Send out repetitive emails that require thought, tact and finesse
  • Recall some of the random codes I use in my website on a regular basis

When I have to write these things from memory, it can chew up at least a minute or two (best case scenario).

When I'm writing a good email, it consumes closer to 5 – 15 minutes of my time (sometimes even more), especially when I take time to respond with an abundance of clarity.

This is precisely what TextExpander is for.

Rather than losing all these random segments of time throughout the day (which can add up to several hours each week), TextExpander allows me to generate any of these lines of text (whether it's a website URL, mailing address or a 1,000-word email) in one second.

Check out the video below and I'll show you how it works…

TextExpander allows me to come up with my own abbreviations (aka – “snippets”) that when typed out, will expand into the full pre-written text that I've designated.

For example, as a blogger, I get emails every day from people who want to publish guest articles on this blog.

Every once in a while, I'll see a great piece of content that's worth posting here – but unfortunately, 95% of the articles submitted to me are horribly written, have nothing to do with the subject matter of this blog, or they just don't meet my standards as a blogger (which are much higher than most).

Since there's a high likelihood that my answer to most of these emails will be “no” (unless they really impress me with their first email), I came up with a canned response for these emails.

Here's what it says:

Thanks for reaching out! I appreciate you thinking of me with this opportunity but at the moment, we’re not looking for any new guest posts on the blog.

I certainly appreciate your mindfulness of what we're doing and I wish you all the best in finding a good fit for this kind of content.

Keep up the good work!

Best regards,
Seth

As you can see, it's a nice, friendly response that says “no” without me sounding like an offensive jerk.

If I had to think through this kind of message and type it out from scratch every time, it would probably take me 2 – 3 minutes (and if I'm having a bad day, the email probably wouldn't come across NEARLY as friendly).

Luckily, I was able to copy and paste this entire email into TextExpander – and now I can easily generate the message by typing out this snippet I came up with:

guestno

That's right! All I have to do is type out “guestno” and this ENTIRE message will pop up wherever I type it.

With TextExpander, I can put the thought and time into delivering this generic message once, and I can keep reusing that response over and over again, without spending an excessive amount of time trying to word it just right.

Here are some other examples of how I use TextExpander

tyvm: Thank you very much!

offerno: Hi <<First Name>>,

Thanks for submitting the information regarding your property.

Unfortunately, the specifics of your property don’t quite fit the profile of what we’re looking for at this time and as such, we won’t be able to send you an offer.

I apologize for any inconvenience and I wish you all the best in getting your property sold ASAP.

Best regards,
Seth

ttel: 555-555-555 (<<not my real phone number, but you get the idea)

aadd: 123 Anywhere Street (<<again, not my address, but you get the point)
City, State, Zip

ddate: July 10, 2017

qqu: If you have any questions, let me know.

Thanks!
Seth

sse: Does that make sense? Let me know if you need more clarification.

Thanks!
Seth

bbio: Seth Williams is a land investor and residential income property owner, with nearly a decade of experience in the commercial real estate banking industry. He is also the Founder of REtipster.com – a real estate investing blog that offers real-world guidance for real estate investors.

Hopefully, I'm illustrating the usefulness of TextExpander here.

As you can see… it's entirely possible to live without this app – but why would you want to? The price is relatively inexpensive, and if you more than a few hours in front of a computer each day, the time it will save you makes it a pretty easy cost to justify.

If I had to go back to the days of remembering and typing out all of this stuff out long-form, I wouldn't have any hair left, because I would've pulled it all out a long time ago.

It's one of those little things that has made a BIG difference in the way I handle my written communication, and it doesn't just save me time, it makes me sound like a smarter, nicer person in a lot of cases – because I already took the time to say it right once, and every time after that is automatic.

If this sounds like a useful tool, be sure to check out TextExpander (note: if you go through this affiliate link, you'll get an automatic 20% discount). Your future self will thank you for it!

Free Webinar With Seth and Jaren

You are invited to an exclusive webinar with Seth Williams and Jaren Barnes on Wednesday, October 24 at 8:00pm EDT (5:00 PDT).

Jaren will be hosting a live presentation addressing some of the most critical elements involved with finding deals and motivated sellers in the land business.

In this live webinar, you’ll get the scoop on how to choose the right market, how motivated sellers think, where to find them and what to say ( including some of the best tips, tricks, stories and lessons you’ll need to know as you start pursuing cheap land deals on your own). You won’t want to miss it!

Space is limited, so register now to hold your spot!

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About the author

Seth Williams is a land investor and residential income property owner, with hundreds of closed transactions and nearly a decade of experience in the commercial real estate banking industry. He is also the Founder of REtipster.com - a real estate investing blog that offers real world guidance for part-time real estate investors.

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  • Karl James says:

    So that explains all those nice, and consistently worded, rejection messages I’ve been getting from my “friends.”

    Seriously, great blog post. I can see how this would be useful for my canned e-mail and Social media initial contact / “Trying to locate John Doe” messages.

    Thanks for the lead on a useful tool.

  • Karl James says:

    So that explains all those nice, and consistently worded, rejection messages I’ve been getting from my “friends.”

    Seriously, great blog post. I can see how this would be useful for my canned e-mail and Social media initial contact / “Trying to locate John Doe” messages.

    Tanks for the lead on a useful tool.

  • Jaron says:

    Hey Seth,

    I’ve been playing with a tool that looks extremely like TextExpander called aText, have you taken a look at that? I’m curious to know what your opinion is of the difference between these? I think it’s awesome that TextExpander crosses over to different systems (after getting aText I’ve hated slowly filling information in on my phone). I would say the benefit is that aText is a one time deal of $5 then you walk away from the pricing. I do see that TextExpander has the ability to do formatting, such as hyperlinks, which would be invaluable to me also. Anyway, I was curious if you were aware of aText, and if you’ve found features beyond the text expansion that would sell me on this product?

    Thanks,
    Jaron

    • Seth Williams says:

      Hi Jaron – I wasn’t aware of aText, thanks for letting me know about it. Unfortunately, since I wasn’t aware of it until reading your comment, I have no experience with it whatsoever… so I can’t give you a very educated answer about how it compares to TextExpander. However, for the benefits you mentioned (formatting text and easily transferring the snippets between computers), it could be pretty easily worth the extra money – I know I’ve found it pretty helpful and the monthly cost isn’t big burden.

  • Phil says:

    Thanks for this. Found the qqu and sse really helpful.

  • Nida says:

    Wow that’s a great article. I started using this textExpander app after seeing this article. Really it saves a lot of time in typing texts. Thanks for the valuable post Seth.

    • Seth Williams says:

      That’s great to hear Nida! Thanks for letting me know. I’m glad you’re getting some good use out of it too!

  • Ali says:

    Hi seth, I found your blog by searching “being stuck with a property that won’t sell”. This comment has nothing to do with this article, but I am college kid looking to get involved in the business of real estate. I noticed that you said your market was in Michigan, and was wondering if you still reside in Michigan and if it would be at all possible to meet up, or even have a phone call together sometime so I can ask some questions about the Michigan market currently. I am looking for some guidance, and I understand you’re a busy person so I’ll be humbled by even a reply to this comment. If you can’t do any of the things mentioned above, I would just like an answer to this question: How exactly is the house flipping market/wholesaling market (typical profits, ARV, BRV, etc) in Michigan, and what is the best way to get into it?

    Thanks so much!
    -Ali

    • Seth Williams says:

      Hi Ali, you bet! I still reside in Michigan. I’ve done a little bit of house wholesaling here, but not a ton (because it’s not my primary business – land investing is). As for getting into it, the first step is to start finding properties you can buy with a lot of built-in “free” equity. One common way to do this is through direct mail. Here’s a quick tutorial on how that works: https://retipster.com/findingmotivatedsellers1 and as for the wholesaling process, check out this blog post: https://retipster.com/wholesaling

  • Jared Cauffield says:

    Seth,

    Love your blog! I have this same issue and this text expander along with canned responses in my email provider will really help me save some time!

    Thanks for the tip!

    • Seth Williams says:

      Hey Jared – that’s great to hear man! Thanks for letting me know.

      I hope it helps you as much as it has helped me.

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